Too few cooks are spoiling the restaurant business

Dutch restaurants are booming but are hampered by a lack of trained chefs, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.

According to figures from hospitality organisation KHN and training institute SVH, there are at present some 22,000 vacancies for restaurant workers of which 6,000 are for chefs trained to work independently. Some 80% of vacancies for chefs remain unfilled for longer than three months.

Employment in the hospitality sector has grown 16% since 2008 and for restaurants the figure is higher still at 32%. The shortage is hitting Amsterdam and Flevoland hardest.

‘Amsterdam is growing as a culinary destination like no other city,’ SVH director Ricardo Eshuis told the paper. ‘But in Flevoland the population is growing steadily. People want to have fun and entrepreneurs are starting businesses and they too are looking for staff.’

According to Eshuis it is the middle segment of the restaurant business, such as eetcafés and slightly more expensive restaurants, which are having the most trouble to find staff. ‘The top restaurants have no problems finding people,’ the paper quotes him as saying.

According to KHN and SVH, the solution lies in improving working conditions. The hospitality sector no longer has a collective labour agreement and unpaid overtime is the norm, the Volkskrant writes. Employers should also offer staff flexible hours and training opportunities, the organisations said.

At the same time more must be done to attract students and improve training, the sector organisations say.