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Investing in company culture as a way to overcome staff shortages

The restaurant industry has been in crisis for too long. The severe shortage of labour is evident in the number and especially the nature of job advertisements. Recruiters are resorting to emotional appeals and offering an increasingly elaborate array of perks to lure motivated and competent food industry professionals into their ranks. Here are a few more ideas.


The restaurant and food industry has lost a lot of its luster. It simply does not attract enough professionals anymore.

What can restaurateurs and food businesses do to find kitchen professionals and competent front-of-house staff who are willing to commit? And how can jobseekers identify a good employer?

What can restaurateurs do to find competent front-of-house staff who are willing to commit?
Photo: Fraser Cottrell 

Company culture as a driver of change

The number of people applying to study catering and hospitality in the joint national application process has been descending for some five years in Finland. According to Dan Koskinen, Head of Hospitality Division at the Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute, Stadin AO, up until the years 2013-2014 the number of applicants was higher than the number of positions available. Currently it is not possible to fill all open positions or they are filled throughout the year in the new continuous admission system. The issue clearly lies with the industry’s image and reputation.

This needs to change.

Company culture can play a critical role in attracting new labour, perhaps tempting departed professionals to return, and motivating current staff.

Here are a few tips for jobseekers and employers looking to build an appealing and engaging company culture in the restaurant and food industry.

Having documented core values, cultural objectives and procedures in place makes working towards a common purpose more straightforward.
Photo: Dylan Gillis
  1. Identify your core values and build your team on that basis

    Jobseekers, what do you want from your career and what kind of an employer do you want to work for? You can be as ambitious as you like, but you can also succeed in your industry by setting less aggressive personal targets according to what works for you. Identifying your goals is what matters the most. Once you know what your ideal career path looks like, it is easier to identify the place where you can pursue it.

    Employers, have you identified your core values? Absolute observance of your values and systematic corporate responsibility management are crucial for maintaining a good reputation and standing out as a desirable employer. Value-based leadership is known to boost employees’ job satisfaction. In these days of labor shortages, satisfied employees are not only loyal but also sing your praises to others in their industry.
  2. Give yourself a competitive edge by investing in the best professional kitchen tools

    The routines of a professional kitchen include a long and varied list of tasks from food preparation to self-regulation. Good tools make even the most menial tasks feel meaningful.

    Digital services such as Chefstein® are great for automating self-monitoring and waste monitoring tasks, for example, and for making processes more logical. Sophisticated digital tools also act as incentives for motivated employees. Faster and easier routines leave more time for employees to pursue their professional passions.
  3. Build an open and encouraging culture together

    How would you describe your company culture at work and outside of work? When each member of the team has a role that matches their personal goals, when resources are allocated in a way that maximizes well-being at work, and when everyone is committed to a common purpose, there is no reason for staff not to feel motivated and engaged.

    Managers who see their team as individuals with unique needs and professional passions and who are always ready to listen to their team and offer help in difficult times are worth their weight in gold.

So, not rocket science? Far from it! All that is needed are small changes now that will make a big difference in the long term.

Having documented core values, cultural objectives and procedures in place makes working towards a common purpose more straightforward. It also makes it easier to communicate the company’s ethos to new employees and therefore to build a more cohesive team.

Book a free Chefstein® demo to see how it can
help improve the way your team of kitchen professionals works.

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