From Toronto Life | Food by Liza Agrba with research by Caitlin Walsh Miller, Mathew Silver and Anthony Milton
Staff are overworked and underpaid, costs are soaring, kitchen culture is toxic, and burnout is rampant. We talked to 27 industry insiders about how to fix everything.
The ills of the restaurant industry are what make it so famous—and so ripe for reality TV. Some, like toxic chefs, tension between back- and front-of-house staff, and inhumane working hours, are as old as the industry itself. Others, like rising costs, staff shortages and employee burnout, are newer phenomena. The pandemic didn’t cause these issues; instead, it brought them into sharp relief. Which means they’re here to stay unless something changes. To that end, we spent the past few months in conversation with chefs, restaurateurs and other industry experts. The question was simple: If you could fix the industry, how would you do it? The suggestions we received included creating a restaurant liaison, geothermal vertical farming, a universal basic income and abolishing the kitchen brigade system. In the links below are 27 insiders on what needs to change in order for restaurants—and the people behind them—to thrive in an increasingly uncertain world.