I would love you to work here – the race to find staff for another summer vacation

At Bushell’s Restaurant on the banks of the River Dart in the heart of Dartmouth, the shortage of accommodation has given owner Sarah Bushell a headache.

With the tip of allowing restaurants to use additional space on the embankment, more patrons can now enjoy his grilled scallops, his catch of the day and Fowey River mussels.

“It’s incredibly busy since we reopened,” she said. “But the staffing was really tough. I have five people working here now, but I could probably settle for three or four more because the demand is so high.

“My brilliant staff are involved, but we’re cutting the hours if we have to. My husband and I are more involved than ever. We have a young family. I had to find a daycare [to be here more than normal]. “

A market of job seekers

Recruitment sites clearly show that this is a market for job seekers. A search for chef jobs in Devon returns 263 results on Caterer.com, including for big brands like Cote and Frankie and Benny’s.

“The heads required for immediate start-up contracts begin to work today,” says an advertisement.

Working in the hospitality industry has never been particularly well paid. Many chef jobs advertised in Devon start at around £ 9 an hour, although some offer as much as £ 15. The minimum wage for people over 23 is £ 8.91 and £ 6.56 for those over 18.

Restaurant bosses believe that many people earn more as delivery drivers for companies like Amazon and recognize that they have to offer more to compete.

Reed.co.uk says wages in the sector rose 7% nationwide and 9% in the South West between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021. The highest increases are in the east of England (40%), followed by the north-east and Scotland. But bosses point out that there is a limit to the extent to which the industry can offer higher wages. “We’re going to have a great summer, but if you put people on £ 15 an hour you can’t stand that rainy and windy November day,” Mr Jones said in Torquay.

“Right now, we have to offer them year-round work to get them. Sometimes you could very easily have seasonal workers, but now that’s not the case – they’re English and they want this year round contract.

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