A RAFT of new ideas has been floated to help tackle the shortage of staff in York’s hospitality industry – as a Press survey revealed just how severe the recruitment problem has become.

Workers in pubs, cafes and restaurants could be given discounted public transport, flexible training could be offered to fill key positions and a PR campaign may be launched about roles in the sector to encourage people seeking a career change.

The possible solutions were put forward at a hospitality summit at York Racecourse, hosted by the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Chris Cullwick.

The need for action has been highlighted by a survey by The Press of pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and takeaways on a straight route across the city centre from Bootham Bar to Walmgate Bar, along High and Low Petergate, Colliergate, Fossgate and Walmgate.

We found no fewer than 14 were advertising in their windows for positions ranging from chefs, fryers and waiters to kitchen porters, bartenders, housekeepers and front of house staff.

Businesses advertising included the Fossgate Tap, La Vecchia Scuola, Guy Fawkes Inn, Eagle & Child, Hole in the Wall, Almaz, Hop York and Solita.

One sign at the Fat Badger in High Petergate, said: "The Fat Badger needs you. We are looking for dedicated team players to join our fabulous team. Could it be you?”

Another sign, at Lucky Days in Low Petergate, said it was looking for ingredients including "a very large scoop of energy, a healthy drizzle of adaptability and a pinch of customer service experience".

The hospitality summit brought together leaders from hospitality, education and training providers and key partners to discuss the recruitment challenges and identify solutions, with issues such as wages, recruitment, skills and career progression discussed.

The Lord Mayor said that given the recruitment issues being reported, it was vital the council heard directly from industry leaders on the current opportunities and challenges and continued to work collaboratively with partners to address them.

A spokesperson said possible solutions identified included flexible training provision to fill key industry positions, a local hospitality PR campaign to communicate progression routes and varied roles in the sector to those seeking a career change and incentivised public transport provision for industry workers.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, executive member for transport, said many hospitality workers relied on public transport, particularly buses, to travel to and from work, and the council was willing to explore opportunities to work with partners to improve transport options, such as the possibility of worker discounts.

Martin Bradnam, general manager at Doubletree Hilton and chair of Hospitality Association York, said York’s long-established hospitality sector brought great benefits to the city’s economy.

He said the challenges faced by hospitality in York were not unique and could be addressed by supporting the existing partnership between the public and private sectors.