Catering recruitment trends 2020


Catering recruitment trends 2020

catering recruitment

We all had our say on what trends we thought would be big in the catering industry in 2020. Now we’re a month or so into the New Year, we thought we’d see how things are playing out in reality. There are few people better placed to provide that overview of the industry than Pippa Bradley-Dixon, Head of Food Service Recruitment at COREcruitment. She says the early signs are strong for 2020…

January can sometimes prove to be a bit slow going – but that’s not been the case this year. Operators are keen, it seems, to ensure that they’re one step ahead of their competitors, with some ambitious plans in the pipeline.

Those plans, of course, remain under wraps – but that’s not to say that operators aren’t getting their ducks in a row.

Pippa says: “A lot of the roles we’re hiring for are private and confidential, i.e. we can’t advertise for them; we have to really head hunt to find the right candidates. Operators are desperate to secure the talent they need to enable them to shift their operations accordingly – but they don’t want their competitors to get wind of any planned changes in direction.”

However, she could disclose the three trends that operators seem to either be working towards or expanding upon:

Quick service

“Call it quick service or fast food, operators are acutely aware of the importance of giving customers the ability to grab and go. Given the fast-paced nature of today’s world, people often don’t have the time to see and wait for their food,” notes Pippa.

At the back end of last year, Nando’s launched a third London site under its Nando’s Nine express format, designed for takeaway or delivery. The concept offers a streamlined food menu and slightly wider range of craft beer and ciders.

Meanwhile, in November, Wagamama opened its spin-off restaurant brand Mamago in the capital. The chain’s ‘little sister’ concept offers customers food to grab and go, adapting popular Wagamama dishes – for example, their famous katsu curry has been reformed into a katsu chicken wrap; vegan cauliflower rice bowl and naked chicken katsu salad.

Dark kitchens

Pippa noted the “dark kitchens trend”. She says: “Very much in keeping with the quick service trend, operators are exploring the dark kitchen concept. Dark kitchens, also known as ghost and cloud kitchens, of course refers to food that is prepared at separate takeaway premises rather than a restaurant. The idea being that purpose-built, delivery-only kitchens mean faster deliveries of hotter meals.”

Speaking to the Financial Times, Jim Collins, chief executive of Kitchen United, a Google-backed start-up, explains that dark kitchens could help operators streamline their delivery-based operations by “75-80%”.

“Most quick-service restaurant chains employ 30 to 50 people,” He said. “In our facility, we have designed the service stack so they only need two people per shift.

Little wonder, then, that clients are desperate to hear from candidates with central processing unit (CPU) and/or Deliveroo experience.

Outside expertise

We’re seeing more innovation than ever in the catering industry,” claims Pippa. “A big part of that is the ‘borrowing’ of ideas from other sectors; utilising the external expertise to get one up on competitors.”

“So, we’re seeing a big drive of operators trying to acquire talent from other sectors; especially retail, with the two worlds often one and the same.”

In addition to fresh ideas, those candidates with transferable skills bring some much-needed experience and expertise as operators attempt to tread new ground.

So, by all accounts, we’re in for a prosperous and exciting year ahead in the world of hospitality recruitment. To find out how we can support you in retaining and engaging your team in 2020, get in touch today on 01225 470999 or email

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