Due to forced closures, many workers have left the hospitality sector. In recent years, it has not been easy to find workers for the Balaton high season for caterers and accommodation providers. Still, the Covid epidemic has made the picture even more confusing.
The local governments and beach operators of Lake Balaton are already very much preparing for this year’s opening. Tourists can also be happy because they can expect a lot of innovation and improvement.
In the hospitality sector, however, some already envision the import of foreign labour, although the situation is still better than in Budapest. 24.hu talked to Balaton restaurants before the 2021 high season.
The shortage of manpower now that restaurants may be opening again from early May is a particularly burning problem in many places.
As the restaurants and accommodations opened at the same time, all the closed places began to look for workers at once.
András Dobai, owner of the Kredenc pizzeria in Balatonfüred, said that experienced Balaton restaurants might have been prepared for the current labour situation, but shops operating exclusively in the high season are in a more difficult situation since they usually have to build the team from scratch.
Kredenc delivered pizza five days a week, so they were able to employ a larger number of staff than in previous years. But recruiting for the summer wasn’t that easy. In Dobai’s experience, businesses that laid off almost all staff immediately when the pandemic broke out are not very popular now for recruitment either.
In any case, compared to Budapest, “Lake Balaton is now the happiest barracks” survived this period well. In the summer of 2020, an unprecedented number of guests vacationed there. He sees that anyone who went bankrupt at Lake Balaton after the summer of 2020 must first conduct a self-examination.
Balázs Csapody, the owner of the well-known restaurant in Balatonszemes, Kistücsök, said that they had managed to keep all the employees since the shutdown in November. This was partly because they switched to takeaway service and were only fully temporarily closed in January and February.
It was planned to hire an additional ten people for the summer, and prospective employees started applying for them as early as March. According to Csapody, the number of people leaving the profession is not very high. According to his experience, those who went to other sectors in November-December last year are “staying in the hospitality industry”.
According to Csapody, there is a need for a general change of model in hospitality; more attention should be paid to what a place offers to the employee: what salary, how much creative work, what conditions, etc. Qualification is not so important nowadays. Csapody needs “the sparkling eye effect”, the enthusiastic applicant can be trained in the work processes. The salary has been rising for years, it won’t decrease now, and that’s okay. He himself is confident that the workers will earn well, as well as that
“we will have a nice season this summer”.
Zsigmond Szívós, the owner of Rock Burgers in Balatonszemes and Balatonlelle, told 24.hu that they had started recruiting months ago.
“Unfortunately, our experience is that finding a skilled workforce as a cook, waiter, a bartender is a daunting task. It is an almost impossible mission now,”he complained.
In Rock Burger, base wages start at last year’s level, but a good performance could boost earnings. He said it would have been a solution if the state had provided real help, leaving the sector less alone. He came up with a bold thought:
If there is no other solution, it is worth considering accepting workers from abroad, developing countries. This could prevent a situation that will eventually lead to economic stagnation.
For many hospitality jobs, overapplication is significant, but it is usually tricky to find and retain actual workforce. Those who had to shut down and let employees go were put at a great disadvantage, according to the survey of Jófogás.hu. Previously reopening and more capital-intensive businesses easily absorbed this sent workforce.
Since the reopening, the number of catering job vacancies on the site has tripled fourfold. In addition, hourly wages in the ads increased by 20-25 per cent. Caterers say serious price increases could come in the sector; some would not be surprised by a 40 per cent increase.
Source: 24.hu; index.hu