Food Service Industry Tackles its Changing Needs
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Culinary tourism is the No. 1 travel trend in the world — and restaurant visits are growing annually

How to solve the shortage of workers over the next 10 years

It’s a common global problem that is hitting Metro Vancouver particularly hard: the chronic shortage of skilled chefs and cooks not only affects the industry today, but may reach into the next 10 years as a result of a limited number of young people entering the provincial workforce. The BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA) is looking at providing operators with solutions that will help for years to come.

 New research highlights that a burgeoning tourism industry provides an opportunity to connect with the next generation of workers and excite them with the possibility of a global career that connects work, travel and great taste experiences. Culinary tourism is the No. 1 travel trend in the world — and restaurant visits are growing annually.

 “Getting into careers in restaurants and hospitality now offers great advancement as the sector continues to grow like crazy,” says BCRFA president and CEO Ian Tostenson. “Our research shows that restaurant careers are dynamic and entrepreneurial and explore the value of offering customers unique flavour experiences — something that is completely on-trend. We want operators to see how much our sector is valued. With 60 percent of Canadians now dining out once a week, we know we matter.”

 The BCRFA research involved in-depth outreach and identified issues that can be addressed with industry-wide changes together with a long-term growth strategy. Strategies include:

 • Target New Employees

Generation Y and Z employees are considerable influencers of food and dining trends. They want mentorship, they want to grow in their positions and share the values of their employers, but they also value their family and time off. As they represent roughly 50 percent of the workforce today, operators should take on the challenge of fuelling this passion.

 • Recruit Strategically

Finding the best people and recruiting them for their ability to grow with your company should be the No. 1 goal.

 • Schedule Efficiently

Scheduling according to availability and asking for extra help in the form of overtime — instead of expecting it — builds respect among team members. If long hours are the standard, consider introducing Averaging Agreements that offer employees time off to manage their commitments while also offering operators cost controls.

 • Be a Dynamic Employer

Address the stereotype of intimidating, aggressive and sometimes sexist kitchen culture by supporting career goals and business growth. Investing in staff by knowing something about them personally goes a long way toward building a strong culture.

 • Be an Influencer

Showcasing everyday heroes and role models is an essential and valuable way to invest in social media.

 • Change the System

Creating the mental shift to analyse the flow of the work and the role that each staff member plays allows operators to improve outputs by using technology to improve efficiency and engage workers.

 As a hub of world flavours and tastes, Metro Vancouver restaurants are key to the resident and visitor dining experience. Through advocacy and research, BCRFA is working hard to ensure that talented people continue to enter restaurants and grow the sector’s reputation internationally. To find out more call 604.669.2239.