The hospitality industry takes inventory: are there a lack of waiters or good offers? | Economy - Almshaheer News (2023)

The hospitality industry takes inventory: are there a lack of waiters or good offers? | Economy - Almshaheer News (1)

Carlos Larrea is barely 30 years old and he has already had time to live and suffer all the possible states of the hospitality industry. From feeling well paid at 12 euros an hour in his native Logroño, to seeing that in Cádiz, where he decided to move to live seven years ago for love, he was only going to earn six for the same job. From seeing himself “eating shit” to the point of leaving the sector, to deciding to return as the owner of Desvelo, a cocktail bar in El Puerto de Santa María. Just in these days of Holy Week in which the coast begins a season of full tables that does not end until October, Larrea has added a new experience to that relationship of chiaroscuro: sweat the ink to find the worker he needed to face this half year coming. “It has cost its own and that I try to offer all the conditions that I have not had,” explains Larrea, who is now self-employed.

In Spain there are 300,000 bars, restaurants and cafeterias —according to figures from the Spanish Hospitality Confederation— in which 1,352,782 people work, as recorded by Social Security in 2022. The employers assure that, in high seasons such as those that They begin with Holy Week, “between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs may become vacant,” according to Emilio Gallego, General Secretary of Hospitality in Spain. “We are the tip of the iceberg of a problem that is going to worsen in other sectors due to the aging of the population,” adds the hotelier. But, on the other side, the Comisiones Obreras union doubts the data and points out another: the number of contracted in 2022 already exceeded the average affiliation of 2019 by 0.53% and turned out to be 13.71% more, if compared with the affiliations of 2021, a year still marked by the restrictions of the pandemic. “The jobs have been filled. There is no shortage of hotel workers, there is a lack of working conditions”, explains Gonzalo Fuentes, head of CCOO Hospitality.

If it is already difficult to find a consensus among the actors involved on the problem itself, determining its causes is even more complex. Hoteliers, unions and waiters point to a tidal wave of factors. The first defend the population drop in developed countries, the discouragement of working when the rest of the population is at leisure and the difficulty of finding accommodation for the worker due to the tourist boom. On the other side, workers point to abusive conditions, breaches of the law or black hiring. Both parties only agree on the loss of prestige suffered by the sector. “They are burning the vocation of being a waiter,” complains Jesús Soriano, a worker in a bar in Alzira (Valencia) and manager of the viral account on Instagram and Twitter I’m a waiterwhere he uses humor to denounce the abuses of the sector.

The hospitality industry takes inventory: are there a lack of waiters or good offers? | Economy - Almshaheer News (2)

Soriano believes that the social discredit suffered a qualitative leap with the pandemic: “Many of the waiters who were affected were hired for fewer hours, and when they went to request the ERTE they were left with one hand in front and the other behind. There were people who clicked and changed sectors. There will always be people who accept it, because there are those in need, but there are no longer 100 in the queue”.

Specifically, Larrea has only had three candidates for his part-time contract vacancy at 7.50 euros an hour —above the agreement in Cádiz, which marks the hour at just over 6.50 euros— and “the interview was only He presented one,” he admits. You just have to take a look at the social networks of Cadiz businesses to find more offers these days. A few steps from Desvelo de Larrea, in the Entremareas tapas restaurant in El Puerto, they have already given up their search. “We are five and we should be seven. It already happened to us last summer. My boss offers about 1,200 euros for eight hours, but people don’t want to”, says the manager Patricia de la Aza indignantly.

The province of Cádiz was already becoming fashionable before the pandemic and now its growth in tourism seems unstoppable. In this changing situation, the president of the hoteliers of Cádiz, Antonio de María, raised last March in a tourism forum organized by 8TV to hire Moroccan hotel students to make up for the supposed absence of local workers.

The proposal is not new, it is a debate at the European level that Spain has assumed with the flexibility of hiring foreigners, but it surprised and outraged the unions in a province with 25% unemployment, according to the latest Active Population Survey at the end of of 2022. When Gallego heard his colleague’s proposal, he knew that “they were going to misinterpret and caricature” him, but he defends the need to “open a calm debate.” “There are options to feed back the economy of both countries without causing damage, if they are not covered, why are we not going to offer it?”

The historian José Berasaluce, director of the Masterñam gastronomy master’s degree at the University of Cádiz, has spent four years analyzing power relations in the sector for his doctoral studies. He is clear that in the profession “there is no personal lack, but dignity”, but he flees “from binary debates of good and bad” and focuses on the client. “People are not willing to pay more for beers. Perhaps it is that we deserve a tourist destination of quality and not of volume. The employer cannot make money at the expense of the suffering of the workers. We cannot sell paradisiacal destinations at the expense of rotten apples because the tourist is not stupid, he does not want to have slaves to serve him ”.

Berasaluce has analyzed the 52 provincial hospitality agreements and their abysmal differences: “The labor authority allows abuses because a relationship of domination is generated. In Cádiz, one of the lowest agreements in Spain, labor poverty is promoted in the sector. The base salary of a waiter, 1,065 euros per month, is 40% lower than that of other areas of Spain”.

It was what Larrea discovered when he moved to Cádiz. Now that he is self-employed – “I’m little, I’m not a businessman”, he clarifies -, he tries to pay as much as possible per hour, but he runs into viability limits: “I pay 3,100 euros per year for the terraces and 1,700 per month for rent. The prices of everything have gone up and I don’t have the same profitability, but I have the limit on the price, I can’t charge more than 6.50 euros per cup”. It is a widespread dichotomy in Cádiz and precisely from which Berasaluce defends that it is necessary to flee as a solution of prosperity for the sector. In his study, he has crossed the conditions of the provincial agreements and the recognition of Michelin Stars and Repsol Suns and has found a correlation: “Barcelona had 41 stars in 2018, compared to Cádiz, which had two. There the agreements and salaries are higher, a process of equality takes place, compared to the inequality of the south. The south is vampirized and in Andalusia the waiter does not even retire in the sector ”.

The businessman José Manuel Córdoba, manager of the Ventorrillo El Chato restaurant, has retired one of his 25 employees for days. It is almost an island in a sector in Cádiz, conceived as a temporary job for young people marked by seasonality. He is clear that his thing is not to compete for price, but for quality, and he criticizes the “double morality” that operates in the sector, from clients to businessmen. “Have I had to assume that El Faro [su negocio forma parte de un grupo hostelero con tres restaurantes y un catering] It is expensive? Yes Yes I buy a kilo of urta at 35 euros and sell it at 80, I don’t care about the criticism, the staff have to earn money because their salary is not an expense, it is an investment”, the hotelier explains bluntly.

Berasaluce is not optimistic that the example of Córdoba will spread: “We are going bankrupt in the sector. This must be politicized in a good way, and seat more agents to achieve a better future”. Córdoba is aware that the challenge is great, but he prefers not to lose hope. “I would love a very decent, very good and very professional hotel business in Cádiz and that we were all on the same line, that is my summary”, exhorts the owner of El Chato, although his words sound almost like an act of faith.

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How much does the hospitality industry contribute to the US economy? ›

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What is hospitality in simple words? ›

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Base Year2022
Forecast Period2023 - 2028
4 more rows

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The leisure and hospitality industry, which before the pandemic accounted for much of the country's job growth, is still short roughly 500,000 employees from 2020 levels, even as many other sectors have recovered.

Why is there a shortage of hotel workers? ›

Fewer caregiving options, early retirements, and an overall decrease in workforce participation are among the reasons for the current labor shortage.

Why are hotels understaffed? ›

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Why is the hospitality industry so hard? ›

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Why people are leaving the hospitality industry? ›

Bad managers, burnout, and health fears are causing record numbers of workers to quit the industry for good.

What is the failure rate in the hospitality industry? ›

The restaurant business is a tough one to succeed in. A study on restaurant failure rates found that 60% of restaurants don't make it past their first year and 80% close within five years of their grand opening.

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For example, durable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and education and health services have a labor shortage—these industries have more unfilled job openings than unemployed workers with experience in their respective industry.

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The current restaurant staffing shortage is as much a result of people moving to new industries as it is workers staying home. The fact of the matter is, restaurant workers have a litany of grievances that have been overlooked for some time. Here are just a few examples.

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Economists are predicting a slowdown in labor market activity in the U.S. in 2023 due to a likely recession, a continued battle with inflation, more layoffs and higher unemployment.

Are restaurant and hotel workers quitting? ›

Restaurants and hotels saw more of their workforce quit in February than employers did in virtually every other type of U.S. business, with 6% of the hospitality industry's total labor force walking off the job, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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There are a number of reasons for this, including having a lack of an original concept, knowledge of costings, bad quality food, or issues with customer service.

Why is being understaffed a problem? ›

Overworked staff: Understaffing means that existing staffers are working more days and longer hours, which can cause serious safety issues. When staff members burn out, their chances of accidents, illness and injury increase. Mistakes at work: Overworked staff are likely to overlook things and miss deadlines at work.

Why is understaffed an issue? ›

An understaffed team is a stressed-out team

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What percentage of hotels are understaffed? ›

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