According to a Fáilte Ireland survey released last February as many as nine in 10 hospitality businesses have problems recruiting staff, with many employers linking the shortage to a lack of training.
Unfortunately, this has become clear in the vertiginous fall-off in standards of service witnessed around the country.
Recently we decided to have dinner in a Dublin pub. Despite standing by the ‘Please wait here’ sign on entering, nobody approached us for five full minutes. When they did, the ‘meet & greet’ said nothing but simply stared at us with a pained expression on her face instead, waiting for us to speak first. On receiving our meal, we can testify that it was one of the worst we’d ever experienced. We felt sure that it had spent most of its life that day under a Bain Marie.
Elsewhere in the country the 40,000 staff scarcities have become all too apparent in reduced menu offerings matched by reduced room capacities to give reduced staffing levels a fighting chance of completing the evening’s work.
This state of affairs has become a vicious circle with staff shortages themselves being cited as the reason by staff for leaving the hospitality sector due to their increased workload.
So the launch of the government-supported VFI Bar Manager Apprenticeship degree and the TU Dublin courses to develop skills and capabilities for the hospitality trade have come not a moment too soon if indications from the UK of only one in four hospitality staff feeling ‘very satisfied’ that their level of training has left them confident enough to fulfil their role to the best of their ability, are true here too.
The very basics of greeting and customer care seem to be absent in many outlets as ‘trainee’ staff get to grips with the practical aspects of taking orders and dishing up food and drink without mishap.
Of course outstanding levels of service remain consistent in some parts – all the more outstanding considering that these establishments are equally under the cosh of staff shortages,
With so many other challenges to today’s licensed trade, publicans should seriously consider investing in the proffered training courses, not only for retaining their customers but, in all likelihood, retaining their staff.