The last couple of years all we have heard about in hospitality is people talking about the chef crises, the lack of chefs, and no service staff, and to be honest, it’s only going to get worse and as this problem deepens so will the closures of hospitality establishment’s continue due to the lack of employment for hospitality along with Vat rises and perhaps bad management.

OK establishments are trying to deal with it or perhaps get by, but what’s really annoying me is the repeat customer is not returning because under par food and service has been delivered and will not be tolerated anymore in Irish dining.  

The hospitality industry, in general, is flapping about worried where their staff are to come from while customers are being let down by the insufficient rosters that are being used for the staff they have, not only are they putting their employee’s under pressure but they are missing the point for that particular service is the most current revenue to be looked after at this particular point in time.

Even though I am a chef for the last 25 years and still work within the hospitality industry, I earn a wage and love to take my family out over the weekend for a meal after a hard-working week. Lately, I have come to recognise places to stay clear from due to own experiences and word of mouth.

Myself and my family went out in Munster to a hotel recently and were disappointed when our fish was only half battered, steak bordering on cold and the kids couldn’t get a parmesan cream sauce for their pasta dish, as the hotels’ pasta sauce was made with mushrooms in it that my kids don’t like.

I found out a day later that agency chefs were mainly cooking that particular day we were dining, this meaning that recruitment chefs had been drafted in for this particular day where a high hourly rate is paid to these fill in chefs, and in my opinion are not good enough to represent hospitality establishments based on the poor food and not adjusting to certain people requirement’s based on tastes, allergens and dietary requirements. 

One of the latest food trends for 2019, but in my opinion has been happening for a couple of years is Dining at Home, and to be honest my family has started to do this more and more along with inviting our neighbours and friends over to our house. The choice in supermarket availability as far as quality, local & ethnic products is matching what you can purchase in a restaurant. Yes, you have to cook it, but for example, a quality steak from The Simply Better Range at Dunne’s Stores will cost you 5 euro (Consistent product that always is a consumer pleaser, & you pick your own packet from the shelf). A Hotel or Restaurant with recruitment chefs that really are under par to cook your steak, don’t know where it is sourced from and throws it out to a diner not really caring if a complaint comes through as long as he/she gets paid the high income allocated. Well, I’m Sorry I’d rather cook at home than dine out.

It may be easy for me to justify this but once I am out of a chef’s jacket and dining like everyone else I am now a paying customer.

I have also noticed bad management or perhaps where employees are in key positions such as management that know no better but are not up to the position given by the owners but carry on because they have no choice because of the staffing crises. Good cuisine has to be matched by good service or the whole experience is a non-repeat customer.

It’s time for consumers to stand up & voice their opinion and let owners or management know-how bad their experience is, not to mention good experience’s without using trip advisor, face to face honesty is what establishments need.

The hospitality industry is going to be under a lot of pressure in the upcoming years, and I see the small restaurant that fit 30 seats in their restaurants or café’s doing quite well, for by turning them over, again and again, will be the way forward. The new Michelin Star restaurants in West Cork & Cork have opened our eyes to this by readjusting a smaller seating area which gives control over smaller employment, training and seasonality along with the owners working in their own establishment’s to oversee their own operation to make sure the customer is getting what they expect.

CIT has always been a great training ground for Hospitality and there opening days for graduating students is a great way forward for any Hospitality outlet.

Dining will always be a big part of everyone’s life, but fingers crossed that these problems can be resolved sooner rather than later.

Have a go at this recipe, It’s my Gluten Free Polenta Cake

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