The food business is booming and more and more people are eating out and eating in, however, there’s a shortfall in young people choosing the kitchen as their place of work.
There are over 24,000 restaurants in New York and Brooklyn has the fastest growth in business in the city. But there just aren’t enough cooks to go round and restaurants are faced with staff recruiting and retention problems like never before.
In 2017 there were over 720 line cook vacancies in NYC and this year to date there are over 850. Something has got to give.
The problem has been well flagged for a number of years. “In 2017, the National Restaurant Association reports, 37 percent of its members said labor recruitment was their top challenge, up from 15 percent two years ago. With low-profit margins leaving little room to do what most businesses do in tight labor markets — increase wages — restaurant owners are having to find other ways to attract and hold onto workers,” wrote the New York Times in 2018.
The increase of the NYC minimum wage to $15 per hour is welcome, but it heaps further pressure on small businesses who now look to find staff with higher qualifications. Now, the city is stepping up to help provide more cooks for New York’s kitchens with an apprenticeship First Course NYC.
The 14-week programme involves eight weeks of kitchen classroom training, at the Food Arts Center in midtown Manhattan and will prep new comers with the basic skills needed to start an entry-level position in the restaurant industry.
Trainees will then complete six weeks on-the-job training in respected NYC restaurant kitchens.
Participants will be paid $125 per week during the eight week classroom training period and then earn $16 per hour during their restaurant placement training.
It is hoped that trainees will continue as line cooks in their training restaurants or in other establishments in need of staff.
Interested? Find out more here