A LinkedIn post that went viral and how to save hospitality

Posted on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 by Alan Pizzaiolo TribeNo comments

On Sunday morning, after reading and article on the weekly edition of The Caterer, titled "Where are all the staff?" I felt a sudden urge to tell the world my point of view. I do this from time to time on LinkedIn, our Facebook page and this blog, but normally only a handful o people will read and comment on these posts. This time it was different, my post struck a chord with a lot of people and ended up being viewed 100,000 times and shared about 250 times. (you can find the post below).

There is a shortage of staff, we know as much. We also know the problems: Brexit, Low wages, people changing careers due to Covid19 (and sadly not wanting to come back), the bad reputation our sector has.

But as someone suggested in one of the comments it's now time to look at the solutions.

  1. Government. We need a "Youth Mobility Scheme" with Europe. Why this hasn't been agreed during past negotiations is puzzling. Similar schemes are already in place with several other nations so it should be fairly easy to implement (I hear you say "nothing is easy in politics")
  2. Education. We need colleges and courses that keep up with the times, teach students the latest techniques and trends. Courses that prepare students for real working conditions.
  3. Employers. We need employers to be willing to take apprentices on and give them a meaningful experience. I am thinking about a one month to three months work placement as part of a course. This seems to work well in Germany where employers know that a student coming out of catering school will be a great asset. If schools can produce good talent, employers will be willing to take it on.
  4. Working conditions. In our recent survey of 100+ pizza chefs, someone said "Employers need to give more than a salary, they need to give opportunities". This is the mentality of our team members, and employers need to adapt to that. We can't expect someone to work every weekend for the rest of their lives, do split shifts, work all sort of public holidays and work silly hours. 88% of pizza chefs we surveyed said salary is very important when choosing a job, but they also replied that they want opportunities to grow, to learn, to have some degree of autonomy in organising their work and adding value to the business they are working for. A hospitality-wide charter that employers can sign up to would be great.
  5. Charities, Publications, Associations, Ambassadors. They all have a duty to spread the message, to lobby the industry and the government. Ambassadors and public figures need to lead by example.




"I would like to add my 2 cents (for anyone that wants to listen) based on my experience. This is an article on this week's edition of The Caterer by Sophie Witts

1. I don't know how anyone is surprised there are no staff around. A lot of people used to come to the UK from Europe to study, learn English and work. After Brexit this is no longer possible

2. A lot of people on furlough are actually doing other jobs, while still being on their pre covid employers payroll.

3. Hospitality is not seen as a desirable career by many British youngsters. Again this is no surprise. Once a friend of mine working in a famous London restaurant said to me "I am only working half day today" and that was 9am to 5pm. That says it all

4. Catering schools, NVQs, are not fit for purpose. I asked for an apprentice and my local college told me my menu was too small (I run a pizzeria). We need schools that run courses that teach students what working in a "real" restaurant is like and prepare them to enter the job market with realistic expectations.

5. Salaries. I think we all agree, they need to go up, and allow hospitality workers to make a decent living.

My belief is that without an all encompassing effort from government, schools and employers we are never going to get out of this mess"


 Photo by Zhanjiang Chen on Unsplash



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