Of course you don’t want your new restaurant opening to perish and like most people involved in opening a new restaurant you’re pretty confident you, and your new opening, will be a success. And why not? Starting any new venture with the expectation of failure isn’t conducive to success. In any case who starts anything anticipating failure?
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia despite some drawbacks, more about this later, is home to thousands of well trained chefs. Those chefs who’ve traveled Saudi for work are, with few exceptions, there for one reason, money. There are other potential ancillary benefits too. The Kingdom boasts many superb luxury destinations and prestige restaurant brands. Alcohol may be off the menu but everything else your heart desires is very much on the menu.
Your ideal head chef, anyone’s ideal head chef, will have the culinary talent of Heston Blumenthal, the strategic abilities of Carl Von Clausewitz, the patience of Gautama Buddha, the financial acumen of Warren Buffett, the physical insurance of Roald Amundsen and the image management chops of Donald Draper. It would be nice to have a Chef like this, but you probably won’t.
Keeping Chef Recruitment Costs low isn’t a “thing” it’s a strategy, a set of tactics, and most of all a state of mind. Some catering and hospitality businesses do this very well, and for others it is a constant struggle. The more noteworthy or outstanding your business, the less you are likely to struggle with Chef recruitment.
Yet even noteworthy kitchens, and restaurants, are finding that the going is becoming tougher over time. Being noteworthy or highly praised as a destination dining business, while helpful, isn’t a passport to the land of the chef abundance. But chef abundance doesn’t begin and end with chef recruitment, the most important component is chef retention.
We’ve chewed over the subject of chef job advertising together before, recently I was inspired [translation:enraged] by a chef job ad that encapsulated everything that’s broken about chef attraction strategies in the catering industry. Having fully vented on that episode, this time I’d like to suggest a more positive and constructive approach to the matter, with, hopefully, beneficial results for you i.e. the chef job advertiser. Perhaps a less misleading title for this post would be Chef Job Advertising: why you should at least make an effort, or maybe even, Chef Job Advertising: make me want to work for you.
You should help your best chefs to leave you and get a new job. As advice for dramatically improving chef retention that statement, at least on its face, is pure insanity; especially coming from anyone working at a Catering Recruitment Agency. Isn’t it? However, this is not about what is best for us, we’ll survive just fine, this is about what is best for you as a hospitality employer and improved chef retention rates is something I’ve yet to hear anyone complain about. However I know you’re not in the least bit convinced so I encourage you to persist and read on, even if it’s for no other reason than to confirm that you’re right and that I’m off my head. Naturally I’m hoping to convince you I’m not, off my head that is, so please bear with me a while.
Serge Burckel is a Chef with an extremely rich kitchen pedigree which has seen him master his craft with the culinary royalty of French cuisine before going on to win recognition for his own kitchens, on more than one occasion, with both Michelin Stars and enviably high Gault Millau scores. When I first came to learn of Chef Burckel it was to see him referred to in the French press as “L’enfant terrible de la gastronomie française, l’Alsacien Serge Burckel,” in a story about a banquet he was putting coordinating, with his friend Jean-Michel Turin, at the Al Wajbah Palace Qatar.