Province introducing pilot program to help recruit and retain employees for small, medium-sized businesses

Help coming for restaurants

Help is coming for BC restaurants dealing with workforce challenges.

Employers of small and medium-sized businesses and workers in the restaurant industry will have better workforce support with the province working with Chefs' Table Society of B.C. to improve workplace culture to attract and retain workers in B.C.'s restaurant sector.

"Through this partnership, we are working to strengthen the restaurant industry, which has been struggling since the pandemic," said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. "We are examining industry-wide solutions to solve workforce challenges in restaurants, and support recruitment and retention for workers and employers in the restaurant industry across B.C. The innovative ideas that come from this pilot project will give employers and workers the tools they need to thrive in the growing restaurant industry in the province."

The province is investing $380,000 into the two-year pilot project and will work with the Chefs' Table Society of B.C. on the strategy.

Started in summer 2023, the society is engaging restaurants in all economic regions throughout the province.

"Chefs' Table Society has long positioned itself as the advocate of the people that make restaurants great," said Shawna Gardham, society executive director. "We believe in engaging people, so they have meaningful careers and build valuable connections with their peers. This project allows us to take our commitment to industry workers one step further by working with operators to create custom action plans that will reinvigorate each participating restaurant's workplace culture through a people-first lens."

The pilot project, Restaurant Culture Shift: Pathways to Successful Teams and Sustainable Careers, will develop individual action plans to improve workplace cultures, and attract, recruit and retain the skilled talent restaurants need to thrive and grow.

The Chefs' Table Society of B.C. will also develop an online guide available to all restaurants across the province on recommendations to improve workplace culture, provide successful solutions and offer a diagnostic tool that restaurants can use independently to assess and improve their workplace culture.

Following the pilot project, the Chefs' Table Society of B.C. will conduct an evaluation with participating restaurants to inform future program opportunities to further support British Columbia's small and medium-sized restaurant industry.

"As a business owner, passionate entrepreneur and chef, I know that creating the right culture that supports the staff is the most effective way to build solid team and customer relationships. I'm excited to see my peers at the Chefs' Table Society taking on this important project and finding new, tangible ways to help us enhance workplace culture and celebrate diversity in our workplaces,” Angus An, chef and owner of Maenam Restaurant.

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