Food jobs will be cut to ‘absorb costs’

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Measuring happiness: a review of the mood in the catering sector has been released
Measuring happiness: a review of the mood in the catering sector has been released

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Catering firms are preparing to cut jobs to absorb increasing costs, while a significant proportion of operators claim they do not plan to hire new staff this year.

Almost 20% of catering professionals surveyed for a Nisbets report said they planned on cutting staff numbers in a bid to save costs, while half of those questioned weren’t going to recruit this year.

What’s increasing costs?

Business owners said:

  • 34% – raw ingredients
  • 22% – labour
  • 16% – equipment
  • 12% – rates
  • 8% – rent
  • 8% – no change

Cost increases were coming from increased business rates, rising minimum wage and the increased costs of raw materials, the 600 respondents to the survey said.

As well as considering job cuts, operators would look to increase food prices (48%), reduce food waste (27%), control portions more tightly (25%), buy cheaper ingredients (13%) and grow their own ingredients (5%) to better control their finances.

Recruitment issues

Despite reports of recruitment issues, a large proportion of respondents (48%) said they had no issues recruiting for vacant positions in their businesses.

However, 20% had struggled to find front-of-house team members, 16% found it difficult to recruit chefs, 9% had problems finding back-of-house staff and 6% did so for other roles.

Difficulties surrounding recruitment stem from the perception of what it’s like to work in the industry, which is reflected in how respondents found themselves working in the trade.

What makes people happy in catering.

More than a third said they work in catering because the opportunity opened up, a third said it was because they are passionate about food, 16% work in a family business, 7% do so because it’s fast and exciting, 4% were encouraged by television chefs and 2% said the salary and benefits appealed to them.

Cooking was said to be the most enjoyable part of the trade by 25% of those asked, 24% said it was a fun place to work, 18% say they’re happy with the pace, 16% said it gave them a good work-life balance and 3% were happy with their salary.

Disliked working hours

Yet, almost half of those asked said they disliked the working hours, 19% said the salary wasn’t to their liking, 15% said it was a repetitive industry to work in and 12% said they didn’t like the working conditions.

Although the figures show attitudes and emotions when it comes to working in the catering trade are mixed, the sector is in growth and currently worth £1bn, data from market research firm IBISWorld shows.

Since 2013, the catering sector has grown by 1%, employing 28,600 people, and the contract catering market is set to grow by 1.9% a year over the next two years.

“The growth of the catering sector to the consistency of personal events that require the service – such as weddings and funerals,” the report said.

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