Staffing issues continue to plague hospitality sector

Staffing issues continue to plague hospitality sector

Recruitment and staff shortages are becoming increasingly bigger issues for the hospitality and retail sector, with businesses working harder than ever before to hold onto high-performing staff.

For cafes and bars, employing people with passion and enthusiasm, while finding ways to continually motivate a workforce, was key to success, agreed the panel debating ‘staffing issues’ at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo at London’s Olympia last week.

BEAR co-founder and marketing director Craig Bunting, Coffee Island director Panos Konstantinopoulous, GAIL’s Bakery coffee manager Jessica Worden and the Compass Group’s head of hot beverage Sonia Louro Carvalho shared their experiences, personal and business, while identifying drivers for success.

“People sometimes think that money is a key motivator, but it’s not – people become bored. It’s a question of finding what is the driver for that individual, which might be progression through the business,” said Bunting.

GAIL’s, with its 50 bakeries in and around London, was better placed than a smaller independent business to create career development plans.

“We have two bakeries opening in June and both have been filled with internal recruits,” said Worden, explaining that GAIL’s operated a modular approach to training, which was better suited to millennials who preferred having a resource they could tap into.

“It’s about giving people the tools to provide quality experiences. A smile returned gives you energy, which you pass onto the next person. We want to create a team working together,” said Worden.

Everyone agreed that what they didn’t have any room for in their businesses were baristas with a ‘rock star’ mentality.

“We do not want that rock star mentality in our business. We want people who will come into a site in the morning, get the machine set up, but also put the chairs outside too. If they’re not interested in anything other than the coffee machine, they aren’t worth having in the business even if they do make the best coffee,” said Bunting.

Konstantinopoulous said Coffee Island used a number of systems to assess its baristas, from customer feedback to mystery diners. “We also use a 360° system, where baristas are given the opportunity to assess the company once a year too. This provides very valuable information from people on the front line and helps us progress in what we do.”

Louro Carvalho said it was important to create a community among the workforce to drive a company’s coffee culture, alongside good reward and recognition schemes. She added that it was hard for a large company like Compass, which did not have ‘brand’ presence on the high street, to find people with passion and who loved what they do.


  • For more information on stands and sponsorship at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drink Expo 2020, which will take place at London’s Olympia on 19 and 20 May, contact Sukhvir Hayre on +44 (0) 203 668 9809 or email

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