The pandemic has hit the catering and out-of-home catering industry harder than any other sector. The lack of skilled workers was already a big problem before the crisis, but now it has become even worse. There is a shortage of staff in all areas - from the kitchen to service, where twice as many staff are currently needed because of the hygiene measures.
No sooner are the restaurants open than the businesses have to worry again. Due to the flood disaster in western Germany, many of them are facing new regional challenges. The flood has not only inundated streets and houses, but also catering businesses and bakeries. Their entrepreneurial existence has literally been washed away. Many system caterers and bakers must once again fear for their existence. The hope remains, as in the Corona crisis, that state help will soon arrive. Short-time work, for example, helped to some extent during the crisis, but it was only a solution for those who worked in permanent jobs. Many of the mini-jobbers had themselves retrained, looked for other jobs in the meantime and changed industries permanently.
"We have now slipped below the employment figure of one million." Ingrid Hartges (Dehoga)
According to DEHOGA (*German Hotel and Restaurant Association) data, the hospitality industry lost more than 325,000 employees in 2020 compared to the previous year, or about 12%. In system gastronomy, the number of applicants for apprentices has fallen by 16%, and among chefs the number of applicants even dropped by almost 20%. Current figures from the job portal Stepstone show that the number of new job advertisements for catering and hospitality has increased by 62% compared to the same period last year. In the analysis of the DIHK (Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce), the restaurateurs surveyed also describe the shortage of skilled workers as the greatest risk to business. This has almost tripled from 17% last year to 48% this year.
The customers are there, people are longing for a delicious coffee and a piece of cake in the afternoon, an after-work beer with friends or something to eat for lunch with colleagues in the company canteen. After months of forced pause with insolvency and existential worries, catering businesses, canteen operators and bakers can start up again with outdoor catering. But no matter where you go, the shortage of skilled workers is omnipresent. Because there are not enough staff and qualified kitchen and service staff are lacking. The Corona crisis has made an already existing problem even more apparent. But how can the AHV industry work against it?
Salary is the first thing you think of when you think of employee motivation. But more often, it is the "soft factors" that are valued more highly and that create long-term loyalty to the workplace. You can create an attractive working and training environment by investing in staff training and education, including digital skills training. Communication and integration into the team are also very important factors to develop team spirit and motivate employees.
Many companies are still undecided about how to deal with new technologies. Some see it as something distant and complicated, a step into the unknown for which there is no time or money at the moment. But digitalisation can also be used as an opportunity. The Corona crisis has shown that digitalisation does offer many advantages and that a quick switch to digital solutions can bring a real competitive advantage. Digital solutions, such as planning tools, can make everyday life in out-of-home catering much easier and help to optimally deploy resources and staff. With a digital menu, mobile tills, the digital delivery service offer or through process optimisation with the help of software solutions, one can take further steps to take advantage of the progress of the digital transformation.
Artificial intelligence makes planning its own strength. Delicious Data's software solution can take individual factors into account and generate reliable forecasts through continuous learning. This results not only in the ability to precisely plan the use of goods, but also in optimal personnel planning. The machine-learning solution generates the forecast based on location- and operation-specific information, such as sales figures, combined with external framework conditions (weather forecasts and calendar events). This achieves almost twice the forecast accuracy compared to manual planning. An AI-based forecast not only optimises planning accuracy in merchandise deployment, but also contributes to efficient processes and resource deployment. This also includes staff deployment, because more accurate sales forecasts allow staff to be managed according to expected demand. Digital tools can therefore be a helpful support here to cushion the challenge of a lack of skilled staff.
Finding good employees has never been easy. But with digital solutions, you can manage to counteract the shortage of skilled workers in the industry in the long term and with an eye to the future. It's not just about salary, but about satisfied and happy employees. When work processes are automated, your employees can concentrate on the core business and have more time for your customers. Satisfied customers come back, happy employees stay with the company and this means that you increase your turnover and save unnecessary costs for finding the next skilled workers.
In an individual appointment, we will be happy to advise you on how you can optimally control the deployment of staff through digitalisation in your company. Click here for the appointment.