Where have all the chefs gone? Olympics catering jobs

The 2012 London Olympic Games are going to present a great opportunity for the hospitality and tourism sectors to grow. In a recent survey, over three quarters of UK hospitality business (78%) thought that there would be long term benefits to the whole industry, thanks to the Games.

More than half (54%) of London hospitality businesses are expecting to see their sales/ turnover increase during the Olympics and just over a third (36%) are expecting to increase the number of staff they employ. This all looks hopeful – but there’s a problem. Here at, we’ve got to find out: where have all the chefs gone?

At the moment, a lot of catering businesses are struggling to recruit skilled chefs, with the necessary skills to prepare complex dishes and manage a team. Take a look at our latest infographic, which presents some key stats on the opportunities and challenges presented by the chef shortage. What do these numbers say to you? Should chefs and catering companies be worried or excited by this information?

To embed the infographic, copy and paste this code:


While the lack of skilled chefs may be a cause of concern in the face of rising demand during the Olympics, you could also see it as the sector being presented with an opportunity.

Now could be the perfect time for businesses and government to focus on supporting the younger generation, ensuring that we’re ready to handle both the Olympics and the potentially huge legacy which it will leave behind.

It’s also a chance to reflect on staff retention – labour turnover is currently three times higher than the number of people on chef-related courses. Of course, this is partly just the nature of the industry – transient workers are key to catering. But it is certainly always healthy to consider the question, especially when considering higher skilled roles and the long term benefits of the Games.

So should companies in the hospitality industry be worried about the apparent chef shortage? Are there opportunities for bringing in new talent?

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