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Caterer Breakfast Forums – A post by Roy Walker, National Account Manager, Caterer.com

This week saw another round of my Caterer Breakfast Forums where key figures involved in hospitality recruitment meet to discuss the challenges faced by employers in relation to attraction, recruitment, training and retention of hospitality employees. These are held in an informal environment in small groups with up to 8 people at each Forum so the attendees can shape the conversation applying the topics to their businesses and get to know piers in the industry at a personal level. My most recent sessions were on 3rd and 4th December at Dean Street Townhouse – where they do a great breakfast!

These particular sessions focussed on a recovering economy with a hospitality industry expanding exponentially resulting in an inevitable shrinking talent pool. How are hospitality employers going to overcome an increasing skill shortage in the market in 2014? Over the two days representatives from Carluccio’s, Zizzi, Nobu, Cote Restaurants, D&D London, The Restaurant Group, Caprice Holdings, Bill’s Restaurants, Elior UK, Byron, KFC and Greene King attended.

Many topics were discussed including Apprenticeships and how hospitality can give back to society by simply being a means to a job for young people and on the other hand how Apprenticeships can be the start of a career path to those actively passionate about hospitality. With 60% of hospitality candidates saying that career progression is the number 1 reason for applying for jobs; to become an employer of choice businesses must use training and structured progression plans as a means of attracting talent and retaining talent. A big topic was how individual employers could be more open to “wildcard” candidates who may not be the “ideal candidate” on paper but have the soft skills to succeed – recruiting for culture and training for skill. On a more general level hospitality as a whole needs to do more to attract talent into our industry to make it appealing as a serious career – not just a part time job ¬–  by getting into schools, colleges and universities more. We like to keep it real at these events too though – it’s not just about the wider industry challenges; attendees share thoughts about everyday issues such as ATS systems, overtime pay, incentives and much more.

The Caterer.com Breakfast Forums will return in 2014. If you would like to get involved please let me know.

Follow me on Twitter: @Roy_caterer and follow the conversation #CatererBreakfast