With the chef shortage in the hospitality industry continuing, Katie Mellor, director of sales and operations at employment agency CJUK, has urged the pub industry to treat their chefs better.
“Chefs are expected to work 80 hours a week when they are paid an annual salary based on a contract for 40 hours. They are not getting paid overtime or for any additional hours they do. This would not be acceptable in any other profession,” she said.
Mellor also added that this treatment has become the norm and this needs to be challenged.
“It is accepted that it is normal. Chefs don’t get necessarily get breaks and they are on their feet all day in a really hot environment. They are told to man up and get on with it. We believe that should not be the case."
She also highlighted the issue of split shifts, where a chef works the lunch session, goes home for a couple of hours and then returns for the evening, as “ridiculous”.
“Chefs should be treated in the same way that an employee of any other business should be. Why is it normal for chefs to have these experiences when no one else would put up with it? We need to challenge that status quo within the hospitality industry,” she said.
The agency said it had seen a surge in chefs looking for contracts that pay by the hour in order to avoid long work days.
“More and more chefs are choosing to do temporary work because of the benefits. They are not taking permanent jobs because they are not getting looked after properly,” she said.
Pubs need to be organised and pre-empt times when they need some temporary help such as during Christmas or the seasonal summer period, she also advised.