Taking on a pub comes with twice as much as work as you think it would, Brexit and Covid (Brovid?) has doubled that again. Back in times when virology was something you thought your off beat cousin was into on the weekends, finding a chef was less of a burning issue. A lot of bars and restaurants are struggling to fill most kitchen positions and paying more for them when they do.
In some ways, I am not surprised, I have always seen chefs as underpaid and underappreciated, ever since I started working in a restaurant when I was 18, I thought those that trod the kitchen tiles a breed apart. They were at work long before I swanned in and finished not long before I ducked out and in between those times, seemed happy enough working in a very hot, highly pressured environment with a sweary, sweaty, knife wielding maniac telling them all sort of unsavoury things about their mothers. With spittle.
The various lockdowns have interrupted the inertia of many a career, giving time and space to revaluate choices or even just to fall out of work some may have simply fallen into. I heard this week about a chef who left the industry to work with his brother’s framing business who makes the same money in 3 days as he did over 70 hours in the kitchen, now has time for his family and takes home a bonus of zero night shifts and unswollen feet – a career change he wouldn’t have entertained only a couple of years ago.
Our challenge is to make kitchen positions in our village pub attractive and rewarding in one of the most difficult markets our industry has ever seen. We are toying with offering flexible working hours, a 4 day week, plenty of autonomy and the chance to build a brand and come on the journey to world domination with us or renting out the kitchen in a partnership arrangement. We are going to have to get creative and be the best employers in village. If you know anyone, please get them to drop us a line, we will gladly pay for referrals in refreshments and repasts.