Cognac: the hotel and catering industry still short of arms

More difficulties in catering

“It’s easier here. We do fast food, there is only dressage. So we were able to take untrained staff. But for the others where there are more requirements, you must have employees with experience”continues Denis Besnard.

An analysis shared by Amaury Legrand, co-manager of several establishments in Cognac: “For the hotel industry, things are still going well. But for the restoration, it is more delicate. Currently, I can only open La Maison and La Belle Époque five days a week compared to six usually at the same time. I need at least one cook and one waiter in each of the two restaurants. And I could even double that number for more comfort. The secret is already to take good care of the staff present to keep them.

As everywhere, we are looking for personnel and especially those who are qualified.

And testimonials of this kind are multiplying, as with Kader Bendjeddah, the director of Chais Monnet. “It’s very complicated to find cooks and we are always looking for a chef de partie and clerks. It’s so difficult that we end up training them ourselves. We hire young divers, who already have an approach to cooking, and we train them.”

And what will happen when we are in the middle of the summer season? With the holidays and the multiplication of the cultural offer, with the organization of many festivals, the customers will necessarily be even more numerous. “So far it’s holding up. But when the Blues Passions de Cognac festival starts, I will need at least three more servers in case something goes wrong.”believes Lewis Candida, the manager of the L’Express brewery, on Place François-Ier.

Despite the increase in wages in the branch of 17%, the account is not there apparently. Unless you find another economic model like the Poulpette restaurant, in the Saint-Jacques district, closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

A problem in training

“It’s not as if we couldn’t have anticipated this situation.believes the boss of several Cognac establishments Amaury Legrand. France does not need everyone to have a bac +5 diploma. It’s like wanting factories. Yes, why not, but there are no more skilled workers. » Faced with this situation, the Union of Trades and Industries of the Hotel Industry (UMIH), the main employers’ union in the branch, is preparing to sign an agreement with the Tunisian government to facilitate the arrival of young Tunisians wishing to work as seasonal workers in the area. But the first effects would not be felt until 2023. “We will have to find a more permanent solution”declares Amaury Legrand.

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