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Recruiting outside large cities ‘a real problem'

19 June 2008 by

Recruiting talented restaurant staff outside big cities is becoming "a real problem", industry figures have warned.

The situation was highlighted by Aldo Zilli when he revealed the difficulties he faced trying to recruit a kitchen brigade for his restaurant in Brighton, which opens on Saturday (21 June).

The Italian chef-restaurateur launched a high-profile "Chef Factor" recruitment drive last week, inviting potential candidates to take part in a live cook-off to compete for a job at the restaurant, which is located at the Myhotel on Brighton's Jubilee Square.

However, despite much media attention, Zilli admitted that the result was disappointing. "It's been a real struggle, and I'm surprised at how difficult the process of finding talented chefs outside London has been," he told Caterer. "The restaurant opens this week and I'm going to have to be in the kitchen myself, along with my chefs from London."

Bob Walton, chairman of the Restaurant Association and proprietor of Trunkwell Mansion House, the Elm Tree pub and Tamarind Tree restaurant in Berkshire, echoed Zilli's concern, admitting that recruiting in the country is "a real problem". "As an operator, trying to bring talented staff to the country is a real challenge," he said. "And it's not even about money you can pay them what you like - you just can't get them."

Martin Smith, associate director of hospitality recruiter Collins King, said that operators outside big cities must go the extra mile to attract talented staff.

"Living assistance is very important, including live-in accommodation, as problems related to relocating are a big deterrent for potential employees," he said. "Training is also vital, including in-house training and sending people to colleges a few days a week. All these things are expensive, but it's what it takes to attract good staff these days."

Read more at www.caterersearch.com/skills

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By Kerstin Kühn

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