As summer approaches, Loiret restaurants are out of servers

Just opposite the Sainte-Croix cathedral in Orléans, the place would be ideal for a prayer. Sandrine Cochard, the manager of the brewery Le Lutetia, is not yet at these extremes to find staff.

But, in the kitchen or in the service, at the start of a summer season full of challenges after two exercises with a cold due to the pandemic, servers are a scarce commodity. In this restaurant, and many others in Loiret.

Solutions, manpower, we certainly end up finding some. “We work with students to make up for the lack of qualified people”, summarizes Sandrine Cochard. Three students have already been asked to do the mesh. It’s not a magic bullet, however. “The concern is that integrating them takes time, because they have to be trained, so we inevitably have hiccups.”

Hiccups that owe nothing to a lack of motivation among young recruits, chosen precisely because they have plenty to spare. “This is the first criterion”, abounds Sandrine Cochard. Recruiting becomes a bet, as much as an investment. “Sometimes it doesn’t work.” So we have to start over.

In Orléans restaurants, the health crisis has accentuated recruitment difficulties (July 2021)

Waive opening days

For restaurants about to open, the challenge is the same. This is the case for the Brasserie Madeleine, in Orléans (in place of the former Buffalo Grill which closed its doors at the end of March). A recruitment has been launched for three people in the kitchen and four in the dining room, “and for the moment, I mainly have student CVs. It’s not a problem for the room part, a little more for the kitchen part, which requires more technicalityexperience, especially with the catering that we are going to offer, with homemade…”, explains Florian Gauville, the buyer of the place.

Part of the team from the previous restaurant remaining in place, supervision will still be possible. But Florian Gauville “fears a little about the start of the school year”, others have shorter-term concerns for the summerwith the holidays of each other.

“There are already a lot of restaurants that give up opening days, because they can’t ensure staff rest days”points out Thierry Deraime, the president of the union of trades and industries of the hotel industry (Umih).

Faced with this phenomenon, some are trying to adapt. “There are establishments where there have been additional days off, salary increasesrestaurants are eliminating blackout days to facilitate the privacy of employees, when they can”details Thierry Deraime.

In Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, at La Gabare, the manager cannot. “In a small structure, we are forced to work with this cut”, explains Miguel Methivier.

Salary, pace of work… former servers in Loiret, they have turned their backs on catering

Obstacle course

Browsing through the job offers published from right to left makes it possible to realize, at a glance, the difficulties. At P’tit Gavroche in Orléans, the recruitment announcement for three positions posted on May 11 on social networks was still relevant at the end of Mayaccompanied by an “urgent”, before the pre-summer closing of the restaurant.

At Trois Brasseurs in Saran, “we had a little trouble too”. However, “we have not completely resumed our pre-Covid schedules, it allows us to play a little on the staff”, explains one of the managers.

To recruit, in La Gabare, it is also the fight. The way Miguel Methivier recounts his attempts in recent weeks would make a good modern adaptation of The Twelve Labors of Hercules. A candidate who asked her two rabbits, another who applied but never answered the calls, and an application from… Senegal: “He wanted to pay for the plane to come, but I had to find him a visa”. The worst part of all this: “Servers are the easiest thing to recruit”.

race results, “I tested a person who worked in service about ten years agobut we have to go back to the basics, the wearing of the plate… that leaves us three weeks to reach a good level”. And to avoid having to cut back on opening hours or daysfor lack of sufficient staff.

Dimitri Crozet


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