20. November 2023

The dual system

I like to spend a leisurely Sunday sorting out my thoughts, preparing for the tasks ahead and, of course, working through things that have been left unfinished. I write as I go along, using the freedom I have gained to devote myself to my topics free from censorship. This happens while my children are building with Lego, day-drinking with a glass of Pinot Blanc from Erich-Schönleber. So far, so good.

Media vs. employer

What has kept me busy over the past week is the huge gap between the media coverage of large print media on the subject of “training in the catering industry” and the suffering that good hosts tell me. They do not get any trainees for the coming year. None means: nobody/niente/nada gets in touch. Not on the Moselle, not in Velbert, not in the Black Forest.

All possibilities

Young people who survive the tough time of apprenticeships and the dual system have every opportunity. Now some will think: yes, yes, yes. You talk. But no, I mean all possibilities: You can immediately find a new job in Michelin-starred restaurants, in the Black Forest, in the Alps, on Sylt or in Switzerland. You can negotiate your conditions and choose the best possible overall package from an employer. Recruiters and headhunters are available to assist in the selection of potential employers. It is not important whether you have completed training as a chef or restaurant specialist. That’s a good perspective if you love this diverse world of gastronomy. However, a few journalists and the black sheep of our industry manage to paint a picture of exploitation, which discourages new talent from entering our world. There is a clear lack of a lobby to defend against this general suspicion. They are not all exploiters, they don’t just shout and scream. No, the tone has changed. In the meantime, a whole new generation of hosts has grown up who live other values and know exactly that your good and well-coordinated staff can make the difference between economic success and failure. Don’t saw the branch you’re sitting on.


But I rightly ask whether the dual system is still viable for parts of the food service industry. Take, for example, training as a restaurant specialist: in two years, you learn what you need to know in just three months. In times of minimum wage, why should an employee be satisfied with an apprenticeship and the low apprenticeship fee if, after a few weeks of training as an unskilled worker, he has to pay three times as much plus the minimum wage? can earn tips? Firstly, many schools are not offering restaurant specialist training in 2015, as there are simply not enough interested students enrolled and the classes are not sufficiently filled. Secondly, there are employers, like Stefan Schneck, who no longer support training in the service sector. In an interview in 24hGastlichkeit, he said: “The technical side is really not much, to be honest. In two to three months they’ll have that down, and then to employ cheap labor for another 18 months, I have difficulties with that.”

Not all gastronomy is the same

I have nothing more to add. Perhaps our education system needs to be reformed. Perhaps we need to differentiate between Michelin-starred gastronomy and mass catering in terms of the requirements and level of training. As personnel consultants and recruiters, we can immediately place 60 trainees for kitchen and service. In companies that do not exploit and are interested in professional and qualified training and can offer a springboard for a career in the colorful world of gastronomy.