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Further training in gastronomy to combat staff shortage in the food service industry

Further training in gastronomy to combat staff shortage in the food service industry

The catering industry has been desperately looking for staff, especially since the end of the pandemic. Many service employees have changed careers and found jobs in other industries. In order to tackle this challenge, Coople and GastroSuisse, the Swiss association for the hotel and restaurant industry, have joined forces and launched a course for career changers. The aim is to help restaurant owners to find more staff again in order to face up to the shortage of skilled workers.

“Service staff needed urgently”. At the moment, you can see ads like this all over Switzerland. According to an estimation by GastroSuisse, around 30,000 service employees in Switzerland quit their jobs during the pandemic and did not return to work. Businesses are desperate. Especially in view of the business during the holiday season, the only option left to those restaurant owners with a lack of staff is to work more themselves, adjust opening hours or offer fewer tables and smaller menus. However, by doing so, they lose the business that is now urgently needed after two years of pandemic.

Coople and GastroSuisse join forces

Coople tries to counteract this shortage of employees by aiming to win flexible workers for the food service industry. Together with GastroSuisse, they set up a two-day basic course on Service. During this gastronomy training, people interested in working in this field can acquire new skills and refresh old ones. David Bernet, project manager for courses on Service Basics at Coople, explains: “We want to encourage our employees to take a first step, to get a taste of the gastronomy sector and to learn the basics. Of course, not everything can be learned within two days. However, a certain basic knowledge and a good level of quality are ensured.”

The courses are a small contribution to combating the shortage of skilled workers, and providing further training for interested Coopers, i.e., flexible workers who work via the digital platform Coople. The participants of the gastronomy training are people who have not worked in the food service industry before or who want to refresh and deepen their knowledge in this field.

Course participants are introduced to the topics Service and host personality, Preparing and setting the table, Looking after guests from A to Z, Banquet service, Service rules and Taking orders. After successfully completing the course, each participant receives an official certificate from GastroSuisse.

Course participants’ different motivations for further training in gastronomy

At the first basic course, which took place from 26-27 September 2022 at the Hotel Management School Zurich (HFZ), the participants had very different motivations and backgrounds.

For example, 40-year-old Estefanus: he already works part-time in a restaurant in Zurich and has worked 60 jobs via Coople, but wants to learn something new and expand his knowledge, and his goal is to obtain an official, up-to-date certificate

He hopes to get even more jobs by participating in the course because “in Switzerland, certificates and diplomas are very important and help to improve your job opportunities.”

Image of Estefanus H.
Jolanda (58) and Denise (34) both have years of experience in the food service industry. They know the catering business from an early age ― but are looking forward to this course to deepen the basics they have learned intuitively and to close some knowledge gaps. By completing the course, they have proof of their experience and can significantly improve their chances of getting hired.
“I was particularly interested in refreshing my skills and in learning more about wine service; for instance, which side to serve from. Setting the table was also a lot of fun. It’s simply about feeling a bit more confident, even during a banquet, and knowing what it’s all about,” Denise explains.

image of Denise E.
Jolanda, on the other hand, says: “As I mentioned, I have worked in the service industry for many years. But I lack certain basics in fine dining and à la carte service as well as in banquet service. So far, I have simply carried out the tasks as I was shown. “

Image of Jolanda D.
Beata (61) wanted to “really know the ins and outs of gastronomy”. Through the course, she gets the opportunity to ask important questions: “Does it really work the way I was once told or is it officially taught differently? I think it’s still important to have some experience.”

Image of Beata N.

All of the gastronomy training participants we talked to have one thing in common: They were not aware of training opportunities in the sector before the course, and none of them would have taken the course if it had not been funded.

Beata’s answer also shows that this type of training is not only useful for reintegrating older people into the job market and actively counteracting the shortage of skilled workers, but also for increasing the workers’ self-confidence: “I will have to continue working even after retirement. […] At over 60, I am, in fact, already completely written off in the job market. So, I’m happy every time I can fill in somewhere. But of course, it’s of little use to the companies if someone like me comes along and has no idea about the industry without any training.” Why is she attending this course? “I saw this on Coople and thought, this is exactly what I need. […] Now, I’m really happy here.”

For the time being, there are four courses taking place between September and November, offering 100 available spots in total. Depending on the demand for the courses and their success, there will be more courses on gastronomy on the future.

A survey among over 4,000 employees, conducted by Coople in June 2022, also showed that people are interested in further training opportunities: the overwhelming majority of respondents were interested in further education. Find out more about the survey results here.

Temporary workers are looking for further education opportunities

Temporary workers are looking for further education opportunities

Further education opportunities in the workplace is key to gaining new qualifications and supporting one’s professional development. Further education not only offers attractive possibilities to employees, but also proves to be a helpful tool for employers in order to attract quality candidates.

In June 2022, an internal survey was sent to over 4,000 employees of Coople, the digital platform. Those who had worked at least once since 1 January 2022 were asked about their interest in further education, as well as other related factors and industry-specific insights. The average age of survey participants was 36, of which 59% are female and 41% are male. The survey was conducted in three languages (German, French, English) and the results speak clearly about needs, trends and the demand for action.

The vast majority of respondents are interested in further education

Out of the 4,000 users who were interviewed, 94.3% showed interest in further education. Among the few percent who expressed no interest in further education, the most frequent reason given was that they had already completed further education (26.8%), as well as lack of time (22.8%) and lack of financial resources (21.4%).

Image that shows the interest in further education

Wide range of motivations for further education

In terms of individual motivations for further education, participants cited higher wages (16.9%), greater career opportunities (16.2%) and more in-depth professional competence (16.2%) as the most important factors. Other strategic and personal aspects were also important: in addition to better career opportunities, arguments such as lifelong learning, a better chance of finding a permanent job and the expansion of the personal network werealso mentioned.

Graphic that shows the motivation for further education

Commercial and language further education are most in demand among Cooplers

The options for further education are vast. However, a majority trend quickly emerged among the respondents. A quarter of the respondents indicated a desire for further education in the commercial sector, closely followed by 20% of participants citing an interest in further education in languages. Further education in the health sector and in logistics was also frequently mentioned. A special focus of the survey on the hospitality industry revealed exciting sector-specific insights. Hospitality employees were keen to pursue further education in the areas of “sales & guest service”, “wine knowledge”, “practical training” (e.g., carrying 3 plates, serving drinks, etc.), “preparation tasks” and “basic service knowledge”.

Graphics with the different areas where hospitality cooplers would like to do a further education

Duration of further education is a key factor – timing less so

When it comes to the duration of further education, there are clear preferences. Just under a quarter of those surveyed would like further education to last longer than three months in order to be able to deeply and intensively learn about a subject. A full 28.1%, on the other hand, would like further education to last between a few hours and a maximum of one day. Employees want either an intensive examination of certain topics or a rapid expansion of their own skills in order to be able to put what they have learned into practice as quickly as possible. The hour of the day and the day of the week of the further education are of secondary importance – not least because the respondents enjoy flexible work, where their time can be divided up as they wish.

“Our Cooplers are subject to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on Staff Leasing and can therefore benefit from a training budget from temptraining. What many people don’t know is that they are entitled to up to 5,000 Swiss francs for as few as 88 hours of temporary work. This benefit enables temporary workers to constantly expand their professional skills and knowledge and to develop professionally,” says Sabina Neuhaus, Group Head of Communications.

Coople receives the quality label from swissstaffing again

Coople receives the quality label from swissstaffing again

The employment services association, swissstaffing, has renewed Coople’s certification with the quality label for the fourth time. The swissstaffing label represents ethical working and high professional standards in the industry. The label is reviewed every three years and the audit is conducted by the Swiss Association for Quality and Management Systems (SQS).

Successfully passing the recertification audit is a requirement to remain a member of swissstafffing and is recognised nationally with the SQS certificate. The following topics were examined:

  • Documents, regulations, and data protection
  • Staff leasing – temporary recruitment
  • Occupational safety, absence management
  • Management

  • Since 2009, Coople has pursued the goal of providing a platform that enables a better life: for people who have realised that the world of work has changed into a life-centred world; for companies that rely on flexible staff at peak times; and for large companies whose business strategy has included integrating flexible workers from the very beginning.

    Yves Schneuwly: “Passing the recertification audit again shows us one important thing: even after 13 years, our efforts to work according to the highest quality standards have not diminished – despite or even because of the rapid growth of recent years. Our partners, the industry, our employees and especially our Cooplers benefit from this.”

    Further information about the quality label can be found here.

    Photo competition for Cooplers: A recap

    Photo competition for Cooplers: A recap

    A few weeks ago, we launched a photo competition for Cooplers to spotlight the versatility, talent and commitment of our workforce. From the 8th October to the 1st November, we invited our community to send in photos of themselves in action at work. This competition has since come to an end, but we’re still reeling from the amount of extraordinary entries we received!

    As a thank you from the Coople team, we wanted to spotlight the incredible efforts of the community by highlighting some of our favourite entries from the competition. Each of the following pictures perfectly showcased the ambition and dedication we were looking for.

    The winners

    The winning photos, as chosen by the community! Congratulations once again Laure, Gabriele and Tamara a on your hard earned win.

    Some hand-picked staff favourites

    We loved seeing the creative entries you all submitted. Though these photos may not have won, we were particularly impressed by their quality and skill.

    Thank you again to all that took part! Best of luck with your future shifts, and we hope you continue to showcase your incredible skills and professionalism as a Coopler for a very long time.
    Coople’s New Look

    Coople’s New Look

    Flexible work in 2020

    Coople was founded 10 years ago (then called StaffFinder) to create the future of work. A future, where anyone can work flexibly and fit their work around their life, instead of the other way around.

    If that doesn’t sound very futuristic, you are right. Because that future is now. Today, you can work by the hour, find jobs that allow you to fund your start-up or take care of family. Flexible work can help you save for buying a home or traveling the world. It enables you to bridge a gap between jobs or resign from a position you don’t like, knowing that you can keep paying your bills.

    If you run a business, freelancers and flexible workers can bring in much-needed skills, help during crunch times, and allow you to maximise your income. Many shops, warehouses and restaurants cannot operate during peak hours without flexible staff. In larger businesses, flexible workforce management has become a core component of business strategy.

    In 2020, all of this assumed a new meaning. During a crisis, flexible work is no longer just a way for businesses to do better than their competition. For many, it’s the only way to survive. For workers, it is one of the best, if not only, options to pay their bills, change career paths, or find permanent positions after trying a few temporary jobs first.

    Flexible work provides great opportunities in good times. It can become essential when things get difficult.

    Coople’s Beliefs: Rewarding Ambition

    Despite the importance of flexible work, something still seems to be missing. When you think of flexible work, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

    Are you thinking about unmotivated staff, low salaries or poor work experiences? Then you are not alone. Flexible work still has a bad reputation. Many people think of it as an option for people who have no other options.

    We have known this for a while and have been trying subtly to change that reputation. But that is not enough. With our re-branding, we want to put our position on this front and centre.

    At Coople, we believe that flexible work is not a ‘holding pen’ for B-employees or a last resort for businesses. It creates career opportunities for ambitious people, and business opportunities for ambitious employers. On a digital platform like ours, your reputation matters more than your CV. By showing focus and commitment, you can reach your goals. Your ambition gets rewarded.

    We are sure of this: Meet our Cooplers and clients

    What makes our team most proud are your successes on our platform.

    Meet Coco, who started working as a Coopler to bridge a gap while she was unemployed. After working a couple of shifts and getting great reviews, she applied for our internal one-year trainee program in the marketing department. Two promotions later, today she is a Marketing Manager.

    Amgad works flexibly to support his A-Level studies. He can fit work around his study schedule to ultimately reach his goal of getting an Economics degree at Oxford. His Coopler experience in workplace communication and teamwork will help him in his future career.

    RHIAG, the auto parts wholesaler, relied on a team of flexible hires to improve productivity and take pressure off their core team during peak hours. Their entire Swiss logistics operation now relies on Coople for staff management.

    Just Eat built a pool of over 100 dedicated, flexible workers for their customer service team. Not only did they hire them, but they also trained and promoted some to team leaders. The right flexible work strategy enabled them to fill complicated shift patterns reliably.

    All of them reached their goals with flexible work by working hard and showing commitment to their work or workers – no matter how long the contract.

    Our new look

    You will have noticed that things look differently on our website. We took a bold step and made it black and white. Why? To put the spotlight on our Cooplers. We know that employers come to Coople because of our Cooplers’ focus, dedication and commitment. That’s what we want to highlight. The photo competition we launched will give Cooplers the opportunity to show off their work (and make some money). Have a look at it to participate or to see our Cooplers at their best!

    We’ll also sound a little different from now on. You come to Coople to work with professionals. You want to be challenged, in a constructive and respectful way. And you know that reaching your goals is hard work, as an individual or as a business leader. We want to help you do that and we can. We understand flexible work like nobody else. And we want to share our knowledge and experience with you. Like a good work mentor who asks the tough questions, says it as it is and helps you reach your long-term goals.

    Each shift is a step towards meaningful goals

    Our product is changing as well. If you log in regularly, most of this probably isn’t news to you. We’ve been doing the work under the hood and even our new website has been live for a while. If you haven’t logged in for a while, come and have a look!

    As part of the re-brand, we conducted specific interviews, surveys, and focus groups with many of you. What stood out is your ambition and your desire for showing commitment, whether you are a Coopler or a client. Cooplers want to contribute meaningfully, no matter how long or short the work relationship. They want to build new skills, and then use them. Businesses want to find Cooplers who have the right skills, but are also a good fit for their team, to be able to develop longer-term relationships with them.

    We’ve been hard at work to make changes to the Coople platform that will make these things easier for you and support long-term relationships:

    • We overhauled the jobs marketplace for Cooplers to make it much easier for you to find jobs at the firms you’ve worked at before, and especially those where you’ve been selected as a ‘favourite’. We are using AI to notify you of the jobs you most likely want to apply for and are likely to be successful with. All of this to help you contribute meaningfully, have rewarding work experiences, and reach your personal goals.
    • On the employer side, we transformed the information you can see about Cooplers which will help you to make the most informed hiring decisions. You can now see more easily where Cooplers have worked before and which of their skills are rated highly by other employers. This focus on their platform reputation allows our most ambitious Cooplers to stand out, and it allows you to easily find them instead of having to download their CV. We have also made it easier to select Cooplers as ‘favourites’ so you can request them again whenever you need them.

    At Coople, you control where you work or whom you hire. We are striving to continuously improve this experience, so that all ambitious workers and managers who join our platform can have the same experience that Guiseppe, Coco, Saomanee and Amgad had, where each shift was a step towards their own, meaningful goals.

    Tony Macklin on developing the technology that powers flexible working

    Tony Macklin on developing the technology that powers flexible working

    As a self-confessed geek, Tony Macklin became interested in technology when playing computer games as a teenager. However, unlike most adolescents, Tony went on to develop an inventory control program for his father’s business at the tender age of 14. His interest lay in how the existing program could better fit the needs of employees; the start of a long-held interest in the relationship between technology and people. Tony still believes that truly understanding customers lies at the heart of developing great technology solutions.

    Joining Coople in 2016 as CPO, Tony Macklin is responsible for enhancing the way Coople connects people to jobs. We sat down with him to discuss how technology is changing the way people live and work.

    Tony, prior to joining Coople, you worked at eBay and Ancestry.com. What prompted you to make the leap?

    I’ve been lucky to work at many companies that have changed the world in some way. eBay created a step-change in how we buy and sell. Ancestry.com made it possible for people to discover their family history online; I like to think of it as a Facebook of those that came before.

    The common factor is the use of technology to solve human problems and impact our lives for the better. When I came across Coople, I was fascinated by the potential for technology to change the world of work and increase the level of choice for workers. Delivering this self-determination is important. In the UK alone, close to 5 million people have made an active choice to work as temps, contractors, or freelancers as they strive to juggle employment with other commitments. Coople gave me the chance to help people balance life and work, touching their lives in a meaningful way.

    With that in mind, how can technology change the workplace for the better?

    The internet has changed many aspects of our lives, but until recently it had not won in the world of work. This is because work is a human endeavour that cannot be governed by algorithms. However, there is an important role for technology in the workplace. It can help people and businesses succeed by connecting workers to the right jobs and managing the communications process that enables this.

    On-demand staffing platforms like Coople have been developed to help employers find skilled, flexible workers, even when they need staff at short notice. This helps businesses to respond to fluctuations in demand and ensure shifts are filled. It also lets them run their businesses more economically, using on-demand staffing to dramatically lower overall staffing costs. For workers, we make it easy to select jobs based on location, experience and availability. It is this ability for businesses and workers to better connect and engage, in a way that meets the needs of both sides, that will revolutionise the industry.

    You have worked with some of the most exciting technology brand around. What has motivated you throughout your career?

    The phrase ‘I didn’t know the internet could do that,’ is what drives me. Technology is at its most powerful when it is solving human challenges in surprising and unique ways. To do this effectively you need to talk to your customers, understand their problems and develop innovative approaches to tackling these. At Coople we have spent a huge amount of time talking to our customers and our Cooplers to understand their challenges. These conversations will guide our approach to product development as we continue to power the gig economy across Europe.