"Who is the coffee for? The chances of hearing this when you are sitting on a terrace enjoying your pancake are high. Together with Peter Claerhout and Samuel Trybou (Hotel Sandeshoved in Nieuwpoort), we put forward foreign workers as the solution for the groaning catering industry on the Belgian coast.
Catering managers undoubtedly recognise it: worries about finding staff and frustrations when employees drop out. Peter Claerhout of Hotel Sandeshoved is one of them. "I had already noticed this and unfortunately I also get confirmation from my colleagues. It is harder than ever to fill our vacancies." Samuel Trybou sees several reasons for this: "Some of the previous employees do not see the value of taking on the hard work and working many flexible hours due to the long closure. Moreover, the difference with the benefit that our social safety net provides is not big enough to let people go back to work. To cap it all, in recent months the VDAB has retrained many workers for jobs that are more attractive than the hotel and catering industry. The result: we just can't find our people in Belgium anymore."
A staff shortage could mean that customers have to wait longer for their order and that is the last thing Peter wants. "Our customers deserve the best service, which also means that they must be served quickly." Peter found a lifebuoy in our foreign talents. "They give our team breathing space and are the welcome help in difficult times." One of our account managers, Kelly Hesters, agrees that Peter is not alone in this: "We have been recruiting foreign-language temporary workers and job students for all sectors for more than ten years. The hospitality industry has been one of them from the beginning, but this was never about waiters because of the communication with clients. However, we have seen a major shift in recent months and are increasingly being asked to select bar staff and waiters as well." That it will be a busy summer is certain. More than 160 temporary staff and work students are ready to support the Belgian catering industry at the coast.
Companies are increasingly turning to foreign workers. Our COO Kirke Hillewaere explains this trend: "We know from experience that workers from for example, Poland, Romania and Spain have the right work mentality. In addition, we constantly hear that the continuity in the work schedules of our job students is a real relief. Those two things are a direct added value for all our customers." "And it is just what we need to provide a pleasant hospitality experience," concludes Peter.