Chris Galvin: We are seeing staff poaching 'on an intense basis'

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

The hospitality industry's staffing crisis is leading rival operators to poach team members from one another, according to chef Chris Galvin

This morning, the award-winning chef and co-founder of Galvin Restaurants told the BBC's Today Programme that across their restaurants - which include Galvin La Chapelle, Galvin at Windows and Galvin Bar & Grill - they have had to raise wages by 10 to 20 percent to retain existing team members and attract new recruits. 

"Wage prices have gone through the roof," he said.

'We're 20 percent down on our workforce' 

In terms of recruitment, "people that were demanding perhaps £30,000 before are now looking for £40,000-£48,000 and we're having to look at paying the going rate. It's a difficult market."

In contrast with the numbers published by the Office of National Statistics this morning, which show that UK employment levels have risen to 75.5 percent across the board - just 1 percent below what they were before the pandemic - for Chris, it feels like the situation feels is getting worse for hospitality.

"There's far more vacancies than we've ever had," he said. "Hospitality has always been short of staff, traditionally we bring in people from abroad, from Europe, but we've never had so many vacancies. I think we're probably 20 percent down on our workforce."

The market is so competitive that businesses within the industry are resorting to poaching each other's staff, he explained.

"We're seeing poaching on quite an intense basis now. People coming in, offering jobs, posing as customers - they will tap up our waiters, tap up managers... There's rumours of finding smoking areas of staff and infiltrating the team there."

To add to this, when one team member is poached, he continued, others usually follow.

"The worst thing is, attract one, they'll attract colleagues. For the first time ever, we're looking at introducing gardening leave into hospitality, which is madness. 

"To lose one is tough, when you've spent lots of time training and developing someone, but they're also encouraging others to go."

Have you, your team members or your staff been poached by rival restaurants? We'd love to hear from you. Get in touch in the comments below or email [email protected]

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 12th April 2022

Chris Galvin: We are seeing staff poaching 'on an intense basis'