An increase in demand has led to a shortage of food service workers

The BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association is trying to make proactive moves to fight what it calls “short and long-term challenges.”

The association recently met with 20 chefs and cooks from across Metro Vancouver to discuss how best to address a skilled worker shortage that promises to persist.

The group has held two sessions where attendees suggested a variety of new practices to help the industry move forward in three areas: recruitment and benefits, leadership and hours of work. A third session is scheduled for November 20 in Richmond. For more information, click here.

Here’s a breakdown on what was proposed at the first two sessions: 

  • Recruitment and benefits:
    • Create detailed job descriptions that include more information about roles, responsibilities, and photos of your dishes.
    • Develop a structure that shows steps for development and the potential for long-term growth.
    • Build an application process that is mobile-responsive to target Generations Y and Z.
    • Promote employee benefits such as in-house training and professional development.
    • Be proud of your workplace culture, and advertise it as a feature of your workplace.
  • Leadership:
    • Lead by example—step in whenever possible to have your team do the same.
    • Reduce turnover by investing in training, mentoring and management.
    • Create outlets for cooks to be creative and contribute to menu or feature development.
    • Provide cross-training opportunities for the restaurant team.
    • Consider changing your kitchen layout to be more efficient—with a goal of streamlining processes.
    • Quickly address issues, which may range from stress and overtime to health and safety.
  • Hours of work:
    • Build the schedule for work-life balance by focusing on flexibility for new hires—including alternative schedules.
    • Avoid cutting hours after schedules are posted to help maintain trust among the team.
    • Ask for volunteers for overtime, rather than expecting it.
    • Create a strong culture that values contribution but doesn’t require it.