Over 7,000 positions in the catering industry are currently vacant. Cooks, service staff and kitchen help are urgently needed shortly before the summer season. For the past three weeks, Bernese restaurateur Kevin Bracher (31) has had a cooking position to give away. So far, not a single application has been received for his job advertisement, says the “Löie” boss from Fraubrunnen BE.
Gastro Bern is now pinning its hopes on refugees from Ukraine. The association has therefore set up an online platform for job-seeking Ukrainians. “Just whining is not my thing,” said President Tobias Burkhalter, explaining his commitment. He conveys the incoming applications to restaurateurs who are looking for staff. The Löie boss also hopes to find a new chef like this.
The project is a success: Around 100 previously unfilled positions have been reported to the association in the canton of Bern, for which refugees can apply. This week some have already worked in restaurants, inns and hotels on a trial basis.
German course for restaurant novices
“I assume that among the refugees there are also people with experience in the hospitality industry, after all there are also restaurants and hotels in Ukraine,” Gastrosuisse President Casimir Platzer told the Tamedia newspapers in March. Nevertheless, there will probably not be as many trained specialists among them as the industry needs.
That’s why the Bern Gastroverein set up a three-day crash course in July. This is intended to prepare prospective Ukrainians for work in restaurants and bars. The timetable includes German, social skills and hygiene. Around 30 Ukrainians have already registered.
Would a refugee with no experience in the kitchen be employed at the Löie in Fraubrunnen? “If someone has the will, we want to offer them a chance,” promises Bracher.
No national platform planned
This makes Bern a pioneer. When asked, Gastrosuisse said the association has no plans to set up a national portal for finding jobs for Ukrainian refugees. “The refugees are assigned to the cantons, so the responsibility lies there,” said a spokeswoman. In addition, language skills are often required in the catering industry, which is why the refugees probably only “make a small contribution” to remedying the shortage of skilled workers in the industry.
Many a cantonal association sees things differently. The Bern project has already aroused the interest of Graubünden and Zurich restaurateurs. In these regions, too, landlords are urgently looking for staff for the upcoming summer season and are now examining a job platform.
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