The catering industry in the north of the Netherlands suffers from a severe shortage of staff. Inquiries by UWV’s NH Nieuws show that in the second quarter of 2022, the catering sector will be fewer than 7,300 people. At De Nadorst in Blokker and Bliss in Purmerend, the girls step in to fill in the blanks: “I don’t think it’s more than usual.”
In previous years, the shortage of staff has been far less significant, says Rob Baltus, owner of De Nadorst restaurant in Blokker. “When I posted a job vacancy in the past, there were different reactions. You can then choose who fits the company. Now you have to use all the resources to get employees at all.”
The staff shortage has become a nuisance to many of the county’s catering companies. While there were still 1,450 vacancies in the second quarter of 2020, that number is 7,300 in the same period this year, according to data from the UWV. Of these 7,300 vacancies, 3,200 are for waiters and bar staff, and 1,350 are for chefs. “I’m really looking for professionals,” Rob says.
It’s not just the Baltus family’s business that is understaffed. Brunchroom restaurant and cake maker Bliss in Purmerend also screams for extra hands. “It’s very difficult right now. I hope we can join someone soon,” says Melissa Cotsier, who works with her mother, Yasmine Oskoort.
“You really get to know customers and improve your skills quickly”
She moves a lot. Both mother and daughter work seven days a week. They make the longest on Friday. After working in the brunch room they make cakes to order. “Sometimes it goes up to an hour or two,” says owner Yasmine. It is collected on Saturday, the day many people celebrate their birthday.
Melissa finds it difficult to determine how there can be such a small number of employees. According to her, there are few requests despite the multiple advertisements. “And if someone applies for a job, they sometimes stop responding. I think the restaurant industry is very heavy.” And this while, according to her, the work is very beautiful. “You can really get to know clients and your skills will improve quickly.”
The situation is forcing catering companies to take strict action. For example, Bliss is closed on Sundays and De Nadorst Restaurant is also closed two days a week due to staff shortages. This shouldn’t happen often, because the day-to-day costs keep going. “We also continue to have a sharp rise in energy prices and NOW reimbursements,” says Tineke. She and her partner Rob are currently working 70 hours a week.
In an effort to avoid closure, the family comes to the rescue. Anne, the daughter of Rob and Tennicky, quit her old job to support her parents. The family business means a lot to her. “It’s my home. I won’t forgive myself if he falls and I don’t do everything I can to keep him afloat.”
Melissa can also be found in her mother’s brunch room two days a week. But in the evening, after her other work, she was also helping out on a regular basis. Quitting isn’t an option: “If my daughter stops, I should stop too. It’s hard, but then I just can’t do it,” Yasmin says.
According to catering entrepreneurs in Purmerend and Blokker, the ultimate solution is out of reach. Tineke and Rob say time will tell if the company collapses. “We’ll have to wait and see how things go in December.”
Watch the full episode of ‘Pak An Doen: Personnel Wanted’ below, where Isabella Prins visits De Nadorst Restaurant in Blokker:
In “Back in the Dawn: Staff Wanted,” Isabella Prinz and Doris Van Bar visit important businesses and organizations to learn how to deal with the current staffing shortage. They lend a helping hand when necessary. Each episode focuses on a specific sector.
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