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Wagamama chef portal shows that more than 250 kitchen roles are unfilled

Thomas Heier, CEO

Wagamama currently has vacancies for more than 250 chef roles across its UK business.

According to the company’s own online recruitment portal, it is looking for individuals to join its kitchen teams at dozens of locations, from Glasgow to Plymouth.

Roles include chef, junior sous chef, senior sous chef and head chef. A head chef can expect to earn between £34,000 and £40,000 a year working for the chain.

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Restaurant operators have faced well-documented difficulties hiring chefs since the hospitality sector reopened without Covid restrictions in July.

Wagamama’s chief executive, Thomas Heier (main image), told the Press Association earlier this week that high demand, supply chain problems and EU workers leaving after Brexit were to blame for staff shortages at 30 of its 147 sites.

“We’ve seen a reduction in our EU workforce in particular but the other thing we’re seeing is increased competition from logistics and delivery firms who are struggling with an increased number of vacancies,” he said.

ONS data suggests that more than 200,000 roles need filling in the hospitality sector, including front-of-house positions.

Wagamama, which is part of The Restaurant Group, said the challenge had been made more acute by unseasonally high demand from Brits that did not travel abroad on holiday this summer and were directing more spend towards leisure activities and dining out.

“It’s a perfect storm of higher than normal demand, with supply chain challenges in the mix and a shortage of staff on the logistics side,” said Mr Heier.

On its recruitment site, Wagamama states that a “brilliant” line chef knows every dish inside out, and understands the ingredients and flavours that make its food wonderful and the exacting standards that match.

They are involved in everything from prep to presentation and work from their own stations, which they must manage and keep clean.

On its recruitment website, Wagamama states: “We take pride in our kitchens; maintenance is a priority and we have state-of-the-art equipment. Our standards are high. Our ingredients are cooked fresh. We serve hot food when it’s ready. You’ll find no microwaves or heat lamps here. Our open kitchens mean you get to interact with our guests, spreading positivity from bowl to soul.”

This week the CBI warned that labour supply problems in the UK could last for up to two years and will not be solved by the end of the Job Retention Scheme.

It has called on the government to marry skills policies to roles with the highest unfilled vacancies, add greater flexibility to the Apprenticeship Levy and use skill-focused immigration levers to alleviate short-term pressures.

Wagamama reveals how restaurant and delivery kitchens stack up financially

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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