The event, titled An Industry in Crisis?, took place during this year’s Northern Restaurant & Bar at Manchester Central.
It focused on how the industry can tackle the chronic chef skills shortage, shrinking labour pool and attract the 1.3m people needed by 2024.
The panel comprised Adrian Ellis from The Lowry Hotel, Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Professional Services at the REC, (Recruitment & Employment Confederation), chef Mike Harrison Law and Katie Mellor, Director of CJUK.
Ellis said hospitality businesses needed to “invest time and money in staff retention” while Harrison Law claimed that the key was to look after chefs and listen to their thoughts on everything from menus to rotas.
Another theme was that menus are getting too big as managers strive to cater to all, but as a result they are putting increasing pressure on already understaffed kitchens.
Katie Mellor said: “Every week we speak to so many chefs who feel undervalued in their jobs, and that is something that has come through in today’s discussions.
“If we are to keep talent within the industry we have to focus on retention. Chefs want to feel valued, and this isn’t just about pay cheques, it is about listening to them and putting them under less pressure.”
PICTURE (from left): Chris Maguire, Business Cloud (host), CJUK Chef Mike Harrison Law, Michelle Mellor, MD of CJUK, Adrian Ellis from The Lowry Hotel, Katie Mellor, Director of CJUK, Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Professional Services at the REC.