Orchard Hotel in Sydney offers $5,000 to find a chef

An Australian pub has offered a $5,000 search fee to anyone who can find their next chef.

Orchard Hotel in Sydney made the bold move in August – offering $2,500 if the referred chef was the successful candidate and an additional $2,500 when the chef completes their probationary period.

Publican Matt Docker said 9 News it has a new head chef from this month, but it has been difficult to find and keep good staff.

“It’s a shock,” he said.

“It’s almost as if every week a member of staff leaves because they have a better option.

“To be honest, I probably paid a little more than I wanted for a chef, but I was quite vulnerable, and that’s one of the most important positions.”

Mr. Docker said that in addition to the offer, he also paid $1,500 to promote the ad on a job board website.

But the incentives don’t stop at the pub’s kitchen, with the publican offering a $300 referral bonus to bar staff.

He said 9 Newsof the struggle to keep the bar staffed, as well as the kitchen.

“About four or five weeks ago, I had to close the public bar. I wouldn’t even open it on some days because I didn’t have enough staff on the roster to build a shift,” he said.

Mr Docker’s other pub, the Earlwood Hotel in Sydney’s south-west, has also been hit by a staff crisis.

“My general manager is basically out of breath because he can’t fill his rosters,” he said.

“He needs someone at the bar, so what he does is fill the role of bartender. He does his job and then an eight-hour helm shift.

It comes amid a busy surge following the pandemic, which has left New South Wales ‘chronically’ short of hospitality workers.

Australian Hotels Association NSW CEO John Whelan said in September that the hospitality sector was suffering from a labor shortage.

“There has long been a chronic shortage of hospitality workers in New South Wales – and it has only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” Mr Whelan said.

In September, Australia’s hospitality sector reportedly lacked “tens of thousands” of workers.

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