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Gastronomy in Saxony: Sunny Easter days and major challenges

View of a beer garden at Lake Cospuden in Leipzig / Photo: Hendrik Schmidt/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa/Archivbild
View of a beer garden at Lake Cospuden in Leipzig / Photo: Hendrik Schmidt/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa/Archivbild

The weather forecast for Easter in Saxony is promising with temperatures above 20 degrees. The catering industry is ready for the rush to the beer gardens, but there are also challenges in terms of qualified staff and the integration of foreigners.

The weather forecast for Easter is promising and Saxony's restaurants are ready for the first rush to the beer gardens. "The establishments are ready, the outdoor furniture is ready and the restaurateurs are looking forward to welcoming guests," Axel Klein, Managing Director of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) in Saxony, told the German Press Agency. According to forecasts by the German Weather Service, temperatures of more than 20 degrees are expected in Saxony over the Easter weekend. "Perfect beer garden weather", emphasized Klein. However, the main problem is still the search for qualified staff.

Regionally, there are considerable differences in the hospitality industry, with fewer and fewer employers outside the major cities, Klein explained. In many cases, opening hours have been reduced and there are often two days off a week instead of one. In any case, running a restaurant is more than just employing a chef and waiter, Klein emphasized. It also always includes a reliable supplier of high-quality products, preferably from the respective region.

The number of people employed in the catering industry who are subject to social security contributions has risen enormously. According to the regional directorate of the Federal Employment Agency, 40,800 people were employed full or part-time in the sector last year, a growth of 15.6 percent within ten years. In terms of total employment, growth in Saxony was only 8.7 percent. A spokesperson for the Employment Agency therefore described the catering industry as a "small but supporting pillar" of the Saxon economy.

In addition, there are 20,800 mini-jobbers. While the number of these part-time employees has fallen across all sectors, it has risen by 15 percent in the catering industry. The head of Dehoga Saxony sees the development of mini-jobbers as rather positive. "This is a good entry-level opportunity for young people, students and especially for integrating foreigners," emphasized Klein. It is a challenge to get the jobbers up to speed quickly, he added. "But the hurdles are generally low, you can earn some extra money and foreigners learn the language quickly in the catering industry."

According to the employment agency, 11,000 foreign nationals were employed in the catering industry last year, subject to social security contributions. This put their share in the catering industry at 27.1 percent, compared to 11.1 percent in 2014. People from Vietnam (1639) had by far the largest share last year, followed by India (781) and Syria (720).

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