Hospitality Sector to turn to Apprenticeships to tackle skills crisis

Serve chilled.

Over 30,000 apprenticeships have been announced by employers as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2016.

The event ran from 14-18 March, and saw hospitality companies increasingly turning to the schemes to deal with the industry’s skills shortage.

According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, one in five hotel and restaurant sector job vacancies is for a skilled role, with the figure rising to almost half for skilled chefs.

The industry risks facing a staffing crisis by 2020, with a lack of proper skills and training expected to lead to ‘sub-optimal performance’, warns Development Economics.


A number of major names in the hospitality sector have now announced plans to recruit into apprenticeship roles, with National Apprenticeship week having celebrated the contributions that such schemes have on individuals, businesses, and the economy overall. 

Comments supplied by Bryan Jackson, Director of Sales at Destiny Foods.

What can foodservice operators do to make sure their dessert menus are hitting the right spot?

Operators looking to craft the perfect dessert menu should always have a finger on the pulse of demand. Pay attention to consumer trends in the marketplace, and if enough customers want something it is probably worth offering it on the menu. The key to hitting the spot is knowing what the customer wants, and giving it to them.

From new products or tempting offers – what is working well and what is driving sales?

The British have traditionally had a taste for the exotic, and foreign ingredients continue to flavour our menus. Destiny Foods has recently launched its own range of Baklava, the increasingly popular Middle-Eastern pastry. Made with fresh ingredients and authentic cooking methods, the range aims to meet customers’ growing demand for exciting flavours and quality foods. Gourmet items including single-serving tarts and larger, pre-cut tarts are made to the artisanal standards that today’s customer expects, and come in a range of both new and innovative flavours.

Whilst demand for the new brings innovation to British menus, classic dishes remain enduringly popular. European patisserie and old favourites such as sticky toffee pudding are still driving sales and should not be overlooked by operators seeking to appeal to a broad base of customers.

What new trends should we be on the look-out for?

The public’s concern for health has increased dramatically in recent times, and operators are having to accommodate customers’ increasingly health-focussed lifestyles. Lighter options should always be offered to make a third course appealing to health-conscious customers, and items made without gluten are increasingly in demand by people avoiding gluten either by choice or necessity. Destiny Foods has launched its own selection of items made without gluten, allowing operators to cater to this growing market.

What is your one tip for driving sales of frozen sweet products?

Caterers looking to drive further sales of dessert should look to provide sharing dishes for those customers in need of encouragement. A treat shared is a treat justified, and any guilt over indulgence can be dispelled with a dish shared by two or more.

Furthermore, operators must provide variety if they are to appeal to a wide audience of diners. Whilst some choose a dessert for its palate-cleansing tanginess, others are looking for a once-in-a-while treat, and will opt for something fuller and more indulgent.

And with sugar in the headlines what can producers and manufacturers do to make sure their products are appealing?

As the British become increasingly health conscious, lighter options and items made without gluten should be offered to ensure all customers are catered to. However, a third course is still considered a treat, and lighter options should be introduced alongside – not instead of – a traditional dessert menu.

Desserts containing alternative sweetening ingredients such as honey, stevia, and xylitol offer the same tempting sweetness as sugar, and can easily be incorporated into a menu. This gives customers the ability to enjoy a dessert without compromising on dietary choices.