Entrepreneur Catering: chefs always looking for staff

Catering: chefs always looking for staff

In restaurants, customers returned after months of deprivation. But not the employees, who have regained a taste for the freedom of evenings, weekends and holidays during their forced holidays. In Grenoble, where it manages seven establishments open 7/7, Jacqueline Di Caro had to close three restaurants on the weekend, and spend a fourth in semi-gauge, for lack of personnel.

In Lyon, the starred chef Christian Têtedoie, a follower like Bocuse of the always-on restaurant, had to establish a weekly closing day, with a quarter of its workforce missing. Denis Férault, director of a CFA and hotel school in Nice, and president of the Service à la française association, estimates that “half of the establishments have taken drastic measures”.

According to Umih, the lack of manpower is not new in the restaurant business, where for ten years 100,000 positions have remained to be filled out of 200,000 offers – in a sector which has experienced a high turnover rate. “But there, we are close to 250,000”, alarms Danièle Chavant, president of the Umih of Isère. It is organizing three recruitment days at the end of September around coffee waiters races, in an attempt to fill 4,600 vacant positions.

Fed up

The revaluation of 2.2% of the hotel minimum wage in the 1er October, at 1,589 euros, will not be enough to absorb the shortage. The rejection of shifted work goes hand in hand with the fed up with the “cutoff” between midday and evening services, a practice that is less and less tolerated. “When we still lived near our work, we could go home. Those days are over, ”says Denis Férault.

Serge schaal, owner of the Fourchette de Ducs in Obernai (Alsace), had passed “for a fool” in 2000, by abolishing the cut-off with only one service per day, from Tuesday to Sunday. By having supplemented the partial salary of its employees to 100% during the ten months of closure, the two-star Michelin found all its staff on June 9.

And yet, finding no one to flesh out the team, he considered closing Tuesday night. “But is it still viable with five services per week, and wage inflation of 20 to 30%”, because of the one-upmanship between employers? “My payroll already represents 40% of turnover”.

In Nice, Denis Ferault notes “increases of 300 to 400 euros since June. It must be said that wages had not changed for ten years, despite the drop in VAT, ”he slips. The former butler regrets the ‘percentage remuneration’, an incentive to turnover (reserved for employees in contact with customers) which has almost disappeared. To improve the image of the profession, in particular in a room where a waiter rhymes with a servant, he advocates the outsourcing of cleaning and installation, early in the morning.

“Top Salle” as “Top Chef”

Denis Férault is organizing at the Salon International de la Restauration (Sirha, September 23-27 in Lyon) the third edition of the Maitre d’Hôtel Trophy, in public like the Bocuse d’Or and the many pizza, galette or pâté en croûte competitions. that stimulate leaders. Bernard Boutboul, founder of the consulting company Gira, dreams of “creating a Top Salle” on the model of Top Chef to generate vocations.

Training in foreign languages, entrusting the organization of parties or the animation of social networks, so many ideas to re-motivate young people who have deserted the profession.

Christophe Fargier, at the head of the beer and burger bars Ninkasi, had already removed the cut. But after 30 resignations out of 220 positions at the resumption, he granted the four-day week to all his department managers, assistant managers and more, to compensate for the arduousness of the evenings and weekends. “I dream of giving them one in two, but I can’t even guarantee them one in three.”


Christian Têtedoie tried for two years to close at noon and run two services at 7 pm and 9.30 pm “In the United States, they manage to provide three services at noon and two in the evening because people arrive there. hour, and spend less time at the table. At home, a disaster ”. The experience cost him dearly in champagne to make the overwhelmed customers wait.

Bernard Boutboul recommends two teams of short part-time contracts, à la carte on the schedule. In Paris and Essonne, he tested a campaign targeting housewives and young retirees. A success: it received four times more applications than positions, “when the advertisements for increased permanent contracts, with guaranteed closing day, had no CV”.

It also promotes the cooptation bonus: “100 euros per month and per employee brought into the company, as long as the latter remains there”. He knows a waitress with eight bonuses, “a real company within the company”. Always cheaper according to him than the turnover or the shortfall in the activity.

“We really have to worry about this phenomenon, which is not temporary, warns Christian Têtedoie. 47% of apprentices do not complete their training, and 40% of graduates leave the trade within five years ”. This year, an unprecedented thing, the CFA hoteliers have not even refueled. “We are experiencing a complete questioning of the model of our profession”, recognizes Serge Schaal, in favor of “a closure around midnight”. “During the curfew, the teams appreciated finishing at fixed and decent times.”

The two leaders share the conclusion that “the consumer will pay”. “The prices will increase to better pay our employees,” warns the Lyonnais. “The return to attractiveness inevitably involves an increase in remuneration, admits Thierry Grégoire, president of social affairs at Umih: revaluation, profit-sharing, employee savings, we will put everything on the table in negotiations with the social partners, before December 31, ”he promises.

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