Recruit servers? A mission that has become complicated for restaurateurs

Since the closure of restaurants during the health crisis, the catering sector has struggled to recruit suitable profiles. On the one hand, the profession is less attractive, and on the other, it is also more demanding.

Difficult schedules, high availability, unattractive salaries… The job of waiter is finding it increasingly difficult to attract people. Especially since it evolves, and now requires very specific qualifications, far from the time when one could claim it without any diploma.

Consequently, catering professionals find it difficult to recruit their future waiters and waitresses, but not only. Cooks are also rare.

According to several professionals in the sector, it is since the Covid crisis that CVs have disappeared. The closure of restaurants for several months has certainly had a deterrent effect on those who aspired to this career, but also to a certain job security.

At the time of the Covid crisis there are servers that have been let go or whose contracts have not been renewed. Today it is a question of reconstituting the teams”, observes Patrick Serveaux, president of the UMIH (Union of trades and industries of the hotel business) Reunion.

It is still necessary to have qualified volunteers, which is far from being the case, notes for her part Barbara Roure, room manager of the restaurant La Varangue in Saline-les-bains.

We have CVs coming in, but unrelated to the job. However, we need a minimum of experience, and we are so desperately looking for personnel that we don’t have time to train people.

Barbara Roure, room manager

Forced to recruit despite everything, Barbara Roure resorted to profiles who had very little experience. This is not without consequences for the teams according to her: “It puts in overhang those who are very qualified and who are obliged to do a little more work so that it runs normally”.

The understaffing remains in place, and only extends the hours.

On the side of the Carré Ktdral in Saint-Denis, Pierre Govindama, event director of the place, makes the same observation of a persistent difficulty in finding the rare pearl.

We post offers all over the place, but we don’t get any response. So we are hiring more and more people who are basically not in the business.

Pierre Govindama, event director Carré Ktdral

It must be said that the server profession is one of those passion professions, which require a certain investment. “It’s special because we work when the others are having fun. It can slow down young people, who tell themselves that they will not have a weekend”, points out Patrick Serveaux, who hopes for an evolution of the profession that would make it more attractive.

Even if working hours are not an obstacle, it is still necessary to have the required qualifications.

It’s a job that requires excellent verbal expression, knowledge of catering service techniques, and speaking at least one foreign language. It can’t be improvised, anyone can no longer become a server. Today, a waiter who doesn’t speak English is unemployable.

Patrick Serveaux, President of UMIH Reunion

It is no longer enough to be able to carry plates, but to also know how to take on the role sometimes of salespeople, sometimes of room entertainers.

Waiter, a profession-passion that is struggling to seduce these days.

©Adjaya Hoarau

Hugo, however, remains convinced that a lot of willpower is enough. Proof of this is his own journey, becoming a waiter then assistant manager at the La Kafrine restaurant in Saint-Denis. “It is a job where there is not necessarily a need for experience or training. There are opportunities open to those who wish to evolve, so take this chance”.

So if becoming a waiter or waitress has always made you dream, it may be time to apply and / or train…

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