The definition of hospitality – noun – the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors and strangers. Delivery of such being totally dependent upon skilled people.
Most restaurants have a foundation of regular customers that return frequently as a consequence of being served a good hospitality experience. Please note, the word served precedes hospitality.
Service by the person that greets them on entry, people that take their orders, serve their food and drinks, and make sure their visit is enjoyable.
The real art of ‘service’ is in not being ‘servile’. No one wants a cap doffed, being warmly welcomed and feeling you are in the hands of someone confident in what they are doing is more than sufficient. It reassures diners they have made the right choice.
This can only be delivered through experienced people that have served their time in acquiring the skills necessary to deliver such a feeling.
Most of the best restaurants I have enjoyed frequenting have won my loyalty through service. I expect good food whenever I pay to dine out, but the wider overall experience is what counts most, and front of house is where that experience comes from. I suspect it is for most people too, whether they choose to admit it or not.
In England, working front of house in a restaurant is not a career of choice for most young people.
Rather than trying to address why restaurants and the wider hospitality industry do not attract more English people to work in them, we have a more pressing problem. All too many people that enjoy working front of house and are good at it have been forced to leave the country. Brexit has resulted in a front of house exodus from the UK, creating a vacuum that is becoming more and more evident by the day.
At this point I would normally wheel out a few reference resources to validate the statements above, there clearly is no need to, as the people and skills shortages being experienced right now as reopening begins are all too evident.
Brexit saw an absolute minimum of 355,000 people classified by the government as non UK nationals, who worked in hospitality pre Brexit, leave the UK in the past 12 months.
As hospitality reopens, there is zero chance of replacing these ‘experienced’ and ‘skilled’ people with UK nationals in the weeks and months ahead, zero, zilch, nil. It cannot be done.
So, an industry already decimated, must now attempt to resurrect itself with one hand tied behind its back. And on top of that add extra capacity to facilitate a boom in staycations.
Not dissimilar to the lack of reference resources in the early part of this ‘rant’, explanations of the statement immediately above do not need any qualifications, they are facts.
The one and only way to have a chance of recovery is by welcoming back the real restaurant rock stars, the front of house team that unwillingly were forced to leave.
I have set up a petition to Parliament asking: “The Government should ease immigration restrictions on EU nationals and other migrant workers with experience of working in the UK hospitality industry, at least temporarily, immediately. This could be achieved by creating a new hospitality visa, or exempting non-UK nationals with relevant experience from immigration requirements.”
My request is a simple one that will only take a few minutes of your time, please sign the petition.
News from the hospitality and catering industry is also being featured extensively in our Facebook and twitter social media accounts with the opportunity to engage with others in hospitality and share your views.
Hospitality & Catering News: Time to welcome back the real restaurant rock stars. – 5 June 2021 – Time to welcome back the real restaurant rock stars.
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