Chef Paul Rifkin, pictured here at the recent Fine Food Expo in Melbourne, is mentor to a host of young chefs.

Over the last six months, I have consulted and worked with many clubs, all have one thing in common, they are struggling to fill vacancies. No surprises here.

We are constantly reminded that everyone is short-staffed at a time when catering numbers are returning to some version of normality.

Hospo workers have deserted the industry due to a litany of sins, from poor pay to unsociable and long hours expected. Fortunately, much of this has been reversed and conditions have improved across the industry.

Unfortunately, the negative vibe still pervades the news and social media, with many “ex-hospo” workers constantly bagging out the industry. This negative continues to affect the ability to recruit people into hospo.

My gripe is, that the people who had income from hospo over many decades are making the most negative noise.

What happened to gratitude?

The language must change to a positive one to attract people into hospo. The reality is that, now is the best time in decades to start and work in hospo.

It’s time to sell the positives, the opportunity to have a career being hospitable and the flexibility that is available, with real career pathways that are financially rewarding.

There has never been a better time to be a chef and clubs are well placed to be excellent training grounds, as their focus on food continues to grow.

Club chefs can grow into strong leaders with cross-training across many areas, and with remuneration to match.

What is your club doing to promote the positives of club careers in your community?

Are you involved in school careers days and school-based apprenticeships?

Now is the time to workshop a different approach, involve everyone and create a strong marketing hook that works.

Paul Rifkin
Head Chef Mentoring and Fine Tuning Specialist for Club Catering

Paul Rifkin

Paul Rifkin is a former club executive chef and now chef consultant to the clubs industry on menus, kitchen design and catering analysis.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *