The massive labor shortage is not only a concern for the tourism, hospitality and food service industries (guest world), but also for the German Bundestag, which is currently working on a new immigration law. Against this background, the Denkfabrik Zukunft der Gastwelt (DZG) presented over 60 ideas for recruiting and retaining employees at a large food truck event in Berlin and generally campaigned for more political support. The think tank was able to win the well-known star chef Alexander Herrmann (“The Taste”) as patrons for the pop-up campaign.
“We are completely rethinking lobbying and want to be innovative not only in our issues, but also in the way we talk to politicians. That’s why we combined fresh content and street food cuisine with our food truck campaign,” explains DZG Board Member Alexander Aisenbrey . And with great success: Alexander Herrmann , the team of guerrilla bosses, representatives of the Gastro-Family campaign and the members of the think tank had their hands full and welcomed over 350 guests from parliament and government, including 80 members of the Bundestag, in the sunshine.
On Thursday, however, it was not only about culinary delights, but also about important topics: “How can our 240,000 hospitality companies bind their employees more closely and inspire new people for our industry – for us that is the question of the decade,” Aisenbrey continues. As is well known, without sufficient staff, little works in the hospitality sectors of tourism, food and non-food service, community catering and hospitality. “In 2022, more than 45 million people were employed in Germany than ever before. So there isn’t a lack of heads per se. We currently see the biggest problem in the fact that weekly working hours continue to fall, and we have a very high part-time rate at almost 40% nationwide. That’s why we focused the content on how working hours can be secured and how we can attract more women to full-time employment,” says Aisenbrey.
The catalog of measures presented includes over 60 ideas and suggestions and is aimed both at politics and at the hospitality world itself: “Positive change begins with us and the responsibility for many employee issues such as fair payment, appreciative corporate culture and consistent further qualification lies with the companies themselves ‘ Aisenbrey elaborates. Against this background, the DZG proposes a clear commitment in terms of wages. According to the Federal Statistical Office, these were six to eight euros below the average for all service sectors in 2022. A lot has already happened here, but you still have to stay on the ball with this central point. Aisenbrey explains: “Just turning the price spiral is counterproductive and no longer possible at a certain level. On the other hand, a permanent extension of the sales tax reduction on food would enable our companies to pass on part of the money to their employees in the form of higher salaries.”
The think tank also advocates more openness on the subject of the 4-day week. “This does not automatically mean fewer working hours. More flexible weekly working hours would give employees and companies significantly more leeway,” emphasizes DZG co-chairman Marcus Fränkle . The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) is already working on a new study on this topic on behalf of the think tank, which will be published in December 2023. The DZG paper contains other ideas such as greater employee capital participation, equal pay for women and men (the hospitality world should be the first industry without a gender pay gap), better tax treatment for employee housing, financial support for the ever-increasing training costs, a better regional networking of companies, for example to be able to set up company kindergartens together, and tax exemption for supplements on Saturdays as well.