Scottish hotels group Macdonald Hotels & Resorts is planning to recruit chefs directly from Poland to combat skills shortages in the UK.
The company last week joined 30 major UK employers, including JD Wetherspoon and Tesco, at the British Days Jobfair in Warsaw, an event organised by JobCentre Plus and the Polish finance ministry.
David Guile, deputy chief executive of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, said because of a skills shortage of chefs de partie and pastry chefs in the UK, the group had to cast its net a little wider.
"There are simply not enough people considering this career in the UK at the moment, something we are actively trying to change at grass roots level," he said. "But this training process unfortunately takes time, which means that in the meantime we have to attract those kind of skills from other established marketplaces."
Philippe Rossiter, chief executive at industry body the HCIMA, praised Macdonald for being proactive. "The UK hospitality industry has always relied heavily on imported labour and in a sense Macdonald is taking the initiative instead of waiting for people to move to the UK," he said.
While Rossiter said he did not feel the long-term consequences of importing labour would have a negative impact on the UK hospitality sector, he warned that countries providing the labour were more likely to suffer.