It is without a doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on the world of hospitality and events in a way that any of us have experienced before. This will have also had a huge impact on the companies such as us at Appetite4work who supply staff such as chefs to these venues.
One thing that I have observed throughout this pandemic, however, is the reliance of our industry. Whilst there are always going to be people who lose out during these times, those who do come out the other side will thrive. Even from those who have unfortunately lost their roles, I have seen so many people secure new positions. Recruitment has a high range of transferable skills and those who work for the agencies, who have been unfortunate enough to be made redundant, will find new challenges, they will get out working again. It might not be straight away, but it will come, I believe, sooner than many think.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the pubs to reopen, to sit in a beer garden with friends, family, colleagues for a catch-up over a pint. Or to visit my favourite restaurant to indulge in unhealthy food and good times, although I suspect, this will look very different to pre-Covid. Will we have to sit 2m apart? Will we have to order using our mobile phones/apps? Who knows.
So, what does the future look like for us as a staffing agency?
Honestly, I don’t think we will get back to pre-Covid levels of bookings until 2021 at least. I think usually a manic Christmas will feel like summer in terms of staffing levels. Will we have to diversify our offering? I think in many cases the simple answer is yes. Whilst we currently supply chefs, waiting staff, bar staff and porters, we need to look at how we can utilise our existing staff’s skillset in different roles. For example, many chefs may have driving licenses with delivery experience, many porters have experience in warehouse work or hospitals. These are all things which we can fill easily, utilising our current team.
During this time we have been offering our staff free training from our online training partner Flow Hospitality (https://www.flowhospitalitytraining.co.uk) in a number of different things. It gave them an opportunity to upskill and learn new things, ready for when the industry does reopen. They have also completed Covid-19 training via this platform, to ensure that they are all ready to go back to work in a safe way once they can.
There has been a lot of talk on social media, on Facebook groups especially, of chefs offering their services directly to employers once hospitality has re-opened, to not use agencies as to quote – ‘all they care about is money’. Whilst there are certainly agencies out there that operate in this way, I can say with confidence, that Appetite4work genuinely do put our people first. Throughout this pandemic we have looked after our staff and kept in regular contact, which, I hope, will go a long way once the hospitality world reopens and we are back to the phones ringing constantly, emails coming through left right and centre to book staff, and generally being out and about visiting clients. You cannot lose that human touch, no matter how bad times are. We are in a people business, and once you lose that, it is extremely hard to get it back.
Ultimately, I feel that temporary staffing agencies such as Appetite4work will be an integral part of helping to get the hospitality industry back on its feet. We will have the staff that you need to fill those gaps in your teams. Whether that’s to cover whilst you rebuild a team, long term cover to get you through the next few months, or if you need a consultative approach on how best to get going again, we will be there to help.
So what will be the new normal? Let us know your thoughts.