Some are going the extra mile, according to The Telegraph, and offering free prosecco and gym membership discounts as part of the employment package. Brunch restaurant chain Granger & Co. are offering their staff a free bottle of prosecco on their birthday, while Whitbread, owner of Premier Inn Hotels, reportedly paid £10 million in summer retention bonuses last year. Other benefits included allowing staff to access part of their salary before payday. At celebrity chef Rick Stein’s restaurants, staff are granted a three-course meal for two at any of his establishments every year.
In a bid to stop poached staff from enticing more staff to follow them out the door, high-end restaurant group Galvin Restaurants is considering granting them gardening leave, so that they don’t have to work out their notice period.
"We're seeing poaching on quite an intense basis now,” Chris Galvin told The Telegraph. “People are coming in offering jobs, posing as customers, but they'll tap up our waiters and managers. And if they attract one, they'll encourage colleagues, so for the first time ever we're looking at introducing gardening leave into hospitality which is madness."
Wages remain the biggest weapon that restaurant owners have in their arsenal when it comes to attracting staff, and the staffing crisis has seen wages surge in the hospitality sector.
Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UKHospitality, said that wage inflation in the industry is double the economy-wide average.
She said: "Pubs, hotels and restaurants are seizing the opportunity for a Covid reset moment, looking again at shift patterns as well as broader benefits to attract and retain staff in order to make hospitality a career and employer of choice."
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Following a hellish two years, skyrocketing food and energy prices are turning up the heat on restaurants. Kristen Hawley spoke to chefs including Le Bernardin's Eric Ripert about how they are feeling the effects of inflation.