Hospitality staff shortage impacts business

LOCAL restaurants and cafes are struggling to find chefs and hospitality staff. 

Salt Flakes restaurant is again up for lease, three months after the business opened, with manager Udit Gupta blaming a lack of qualified staff. 

The former New Delhi and Melbourne resident had revamped the business but said he couldn’t find decent workers. 

“I can’t find good staff here,” he said. 

“I’ve advertised for cooks and staff, I’ve had a lot of notes in the windows and nobody is giving me a response, or they aren’t competent enough to do the job. 

“It is really frustrating. 

“I need a good chef but I had to ask the last one to leave.”

Metro and Puggs Irish Bar owner Andrew Lethlean said he had managed to keep his two chefs for many years, but said young people seemed unwilling to work in the industry. 

“It’s a huge problem in hospitality in general,” he said. 

“A lot of places struggle to find chefs, whether they’re apprentices or qualified. There are good opportunities for motivated young people to put in the time to make a career for themselves, but they don’t want to.

“If you look in the paper there are always half a dozen ads for chefs and staff.”

CVGT Australia chief executive Paul Green said it was a “bit of a mystery” why there was a staffing shortfall. 

“There’s a shortage of skilled people in general,” he said. 

“I’m not convinced the long hours and weekend work is part of it. 

“I guess the hours are difficult for some, but the hours suit a lot of young people who go out afterwards.”

Mr Gupta said five people worked at Salt Flakes, formerly the Typhoon Cafe Restaurant and Cafe Spiral, but he was the only person in the kitchen. 

The leasehold on the Mitchell Street venue is up for sale, and Landmark Harcourts Bendigo property manager Brett Tweed said the business could be changed as the new owner pleased. 

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