Caterers will remember 2020 and 2021 well. 24 sata reports, a year and a half after the start of the pandemic, it is clear that they are a vulnerable group to whom the crisis has brought great financial damage. Unconditionally closed, with only a slight shift in coffee to go, caterers have generally entered a cash deficit. Although things have been slowly returning to normal over the last month, caterers are facing new difficulties. In addition to the still current restrictions, there are problems with tax burdens and labor shortages, especially quality ones.
The season, they say, is ahead of them, and the labor market is almost empty. The biggest problem for caterers is the lack of total workforce needed to operate one restaurant, mostly the staff directly in charge of serving guests. Most waiters have moved to hotel complexes to do the season because they are guaranteed a salary there for several months, and many have found other jobs during the pandemic.
With easing measures, everything returns to normal at first glance, but the shortage of labor primarily felt in continental Croatia is growing. As a result, demand in the tourism sector is high, and people have gone en masse to the coast and islands, hoping to make some money in tourism.
The pandemic has stopped freedom of movement, including the free labor market and the “import” of labor. Costs have been further increased due to Covid tests, and accommodation for workers has become a very high item in the budget. There are also fees for work permits, food, transportation, and transportation of staff to work. If the business tax were reduced for caterers, there would be more left for salaries, which would attract our people to stay in the sector and not look for seasonal jobs even outside their profession.
Employees are found through social networks and internal acquaintances, various employment portals, and private referrals. There are also various competitions for students, and there are those who come alone. They are hard to find and even harder to keep. Most of them fail while on probation, and among the key characteristics they seek are will, motivation, and interest in work.
Many employees ask for unrealistically high salaries because they know that there is a labor shortage, and at the same time, they do not have good enough qualifications for that. As a result, there are often situations in which workers are late and sluggish, and many do not speak foreign languages or are rude.
“Of course, an employee should have qualifications for a certain job, but that is not crucial for us because we invest a lot of time, knowledge, and money to teach a quality person even better work. We motivate them with additional stimuli for good work. This should become the standard in all sectors anyway, because only in this way can the quality of work be increased.
We are interested in a combination of human and professional qualities. It is important to us that our employees are good people with a cheerful spirit, and on the other hand, dedicated to work and diligent. Also, contact with guests is important to us; they are not just one in a row but people to whom we dedicate ourselves.” said Saša Žerajić, owner of the Program Bar.
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