‘Recruiting restaurant staff is the most challenging thing I’ve experienced in 20 years’

As the hospitality industry struggles with a shortage of labour, a perfect storm perhaps of Brexit and Covid, one leading restaurateur has called for a reset in how the hospitality industry is recruiting.

Tim Siadatan, co-founder of acclaimed restaurant Trullo and the Padella brand, says ‘it’s time for a new way of recruiting.’

Speaking on the latest episode of the Biting Talk podcast, Siadatan, who aged 16 was one of the first trainees at Jamie Oliver’s 15 restaurant in 2002, says that ‘if we were smart as an industry and got government support on marketing [we could] expose all the wonderful aspects of this industry.’

Arguing that recruitment ‘is the biggest issue right now,’ he admits that hiring is ‘the most challenging I’ve experienced in the best part of 20 years.’

Siadatan has had to close both branches of Padella in east London, ‘as I just don’t have the headcount’.

To attract people into the business he says, ‘a new proposition’ is needed. ‘It’s a seriously viable career with many opportunities and avenues that you can go down,’ he explains. ‘I don’t think young people recognise that and many parents think they’d rather get their kids into university. There’s not just working in a restaurant day to day, there’s farming, for example, or sustainability, wellness, wine and baking.

‘It’s a really fruitful career if you apply yourself – it’s a really exciting time for the UK to be involved with hospitality and food.’

Siadatan adds that he’s also ‘excited also to employ people who might want a career change.’

You can hear the full interview on this week’s Biting Talk with Two Chicks, presented by Telegraph restaurant critic, William Sitwell, by clicking on the audio player above. This week’s show also features Struan Robertson of Provenance butchers launching his nationwide ‘Steak club’ delivery, Michelin-starred chef James Knappett expanding his award-winning Kitchen Table restaurant, and mixologist Farhad Heydari on the cocktail to please a crowd.

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