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10 Strategies to Overcome Chef Shortages

The landscape of Australian hospitality is ever-evolving, venues are facing a formidable challenge: the acute shortage of skilled chefs. This predicament has left lots of venues with great pressure on the wage bills while the pool of high quality chef talent available seems to be getting smaller.

We have a put together a few strategies that just might help;

1. Offering Competitive Compensation Packages

You get what you pay for. Sometimes it is better to pay one exceptional chef well rather than have two of lower competence. A great chef can make a menu that the customers love but that can also be delivered consistently with the available resources.

2. Creating Flexible Work Environments

Adopting flexible work schedules can make positions more appealing to potential hires. This could mean offering part-time positions, flexible hours, or even seasonal roles that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of chefs today. It pays to see how the role can be fit around a chefs other commitments such as school pick ups etc. When you really meet the chefs needs they tend to stay longer.

3. Fostering a Winning Workplace Culture

A winning and supportive workplace culture is key to retaining staff. Venues that prioritise teamwork, respect, and recognition for hard work will not only attract but also retain top talents. That is why major businesses focus so much time on workplace culture

4. Investing in Employee Development

Investing in the continuous development of kitchen staff through training programs and workshops demonstrates a commitment to their professional growth. This can attract ambitious chefs looking for opportunities to advance their skills and careers.

5. Utilising Social Media and Digital Platforms

Social media and digital platforms are powerful tools for reaching potential hires. Engaging content that showcases the venue's culture, cuisine, and team can attract chefs who align with the venue's vision and values.

6. Leverage Chef Agencies

Gone are the days of expensive chef agencies you only use as a last resort. Some agencies like allow you to set the rate you want to pay (as long as it's above the award) and simply charge a reasonable booking fee. This allows clients to use this as their regular casual pool and stop wasting their time and money on constant recruitment.

6. Network

Networking is such a powerful tool for business growth, but more and more businesses are turning to networking to recruit key talent. When you are referred an employee from someone they know and trust they are more likely to make sure they do their best. Consider chamber of commerce, BNI, or alumni networks. Make specific requests and get it out there exactly what you are looking for.

7. Building an Employer Brand

Developing a strong employer brand that highlights the unique aspects of working at your venue can set you apart. Whether it's sustainability practices, innovative menus, or community involvement, highlighting these factors can attract chefs who share similar values.

8. Engaging with Chef Schools and Institutions

Forming partnerships with chef schools and institutions offers a direct pipeline to emerging talent. Participating in career fairs, guest lectures, or offering internships can introduce your venue to the next generation of chefs.

9. Implementing Referral Programs

Current employees can be invaluable in identifying potential hires. Implementing referral programs that reward staff for successful hires can encourage your team to recommend skilled chefs within their network.

10. Exploring International Talent

With chef shortages being a global issue, looking beyond Australia's borders can be a fruitful strategy. International hires can bring new perspectives, skills, and flavours to your kitchen, enhancing the dining experience for your guests. ChefHire has overseas kitchens set up where they can train the chef to cook your menu before they arrive.

Hopefully these tips can help you in your kitchen.

If you find yourself in need of a chef for any reason head to

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