Staff shortages not a new problem says Kassia owner

THE OWNER of several city restaurants has said that staff shortages is not a new problem and is something he has struggled with since the start of the pandemic.

Saturday, 28th August 2021, 12:00 am
Kaz Miah at Kassia Lounge in Denmead Picture: Sarah Standing (131020-5731)

Kaz Miah, who runs the Kassia group of restaurants around Portsmouth, said that although ‘pinging’ from the HNS app resulting in staff having to self-isolate has been an issue, the problem of a lack of staff has been around for the last 12 months, due to the pandemic.

With the majority Kaz’s restaurants offering Asian cuisine, he said that it has been tough finding chefs that are trained in that particular area as people change professions.

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He said: ‘We’ve had around three or four staff members from across the group being pinged in the last week, meaning that we’re losing staff that way, but we’ve been short on staff for around a year. It isn’t a new problem. ‘With Asian cuisine, it’s important to recruit chefs who know the food well and can cook it properly to be able to do it justice. Since the start of the pandemic people have left hospitality and have sought out other career paths because of more flexibility and pay increases. This means that the pool of potential chefs is getting smaller and smaller.

‘Then, as well as this, the chefs that are available are in high demand, so they’re coming at a higher cost, which is obviously tough considering most of the restaurants have been closed for so long and we’re still trying to claw back money lost.’

Kaz said that the last year has been tough for the industry, but he also has optimism that the vaccine rollout will help it get back on its feet.

He said: ‘With more and more people getting vaccinated, it’ll mean that we have less staff illnesses and that we’re able to get back to a good place financially and will be able to deliver the full dining experience to our customers.’

He is urging other restauranteurs experiencing similar issues to consider training chefs from different backgrounds, so they can understand the cuisine fully and cost accordingly to keep up with inflation.

He said: ‘There are so many talented chefs out there, but it’s just a case of training up those who have what it takes to understand the cuisine fully. It also means pricing accordingly.

Unless restaurants take action, I can see a lot of people having to close their doors due to a huge reduction in numbers and being unable to afford the staff at the high cost they are currently coming at.’