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Fred Sirieix calls for an end to years of 'no visible action' on industry's staffing crisis

16 January 2020 by
Fred Sirieix calls for an end to years of 'no visible action' on industry's staffing crisis

Front of house figurehead Fred Sirieix has written an open letter to the industry and government calling for an end to years of discussions about hospitality's reputation problem, which have been followed by "no visible action".

In his call to make 2020 a year of real change the star of Channel 4's First Dates and former general manager of Galvin at Windows in the London Hilton Park Lane wrote: "The profession I chose has rarely been respected, valued or appreciated. It's a historical problem. A hundred years ago catering staff were the least respected staff working in private households. And the public at large still sees it as an industry made up of masters and servants.

"As a result parents, teachers and school advisers do not consider hospitality a worthwhile career option; professional education is not funded adequately; and catering colleges across the country are closing daily or operating under very difficult or tight training constraints."

The founder of National Waiters Day points to government figures showing a 4% vacancy rate in the food, drink and accommodation sector, amounting to 90,000 vacancies. Extrapolating this to the wider hospitality and tourism industry it is estimated this could be around 128,000 vacancies in the UK.

His letter continued: "The hospitality industry simply can't fill the positions that are open... the problem lies with the perception and reputation of the industry.

"We the professionals, the professional bodies, the education system, the government, need to work together to start a movement and give reasons for people to love hospitality. It is our urgent responsibility to do so."

Sirieix writes that hospitality's reputation is undeserved and that the industry actually "holds the key to an ocean of opportunities and the route to success".

He added: "Over the years there have been countless meetings, conferences, promises and quite frankly and very frustratingly much ado about nothing - with no visible actions on the ground. This needs to change from 2020."

"I'm therefore calling on a coalition of the willing to put in place a plan, a strategy and to start a movement that will change the status quo and make hospitality not only the leading UK industry but the envy of the world."

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