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The challenge is, I think it’s the same for every entrepreneur, it’s keeping staff motivated.

Catering: the staff

Marianne Donven, founder of Chiche! since 2017, then of Yabani

Staff shortages

I always have about 50 CVs on my desk. The country’s social centres and associations send me the most complicated cases. Since I’m used to helping people get personal documents, I probably handle the CVs a little bit differently to other managers. There you have it… I’ve also sent CVs to other managers before, but sadly, if you’re not used to this kind of practice, it’s not always easy to put in place for other companies. So there you go, I always have a lot of people waiting. Yes. I don’t suffer from staff shortages, at all!

Working with refugees

People with a refugee status have the same rights as residents. Of course, they can sign a contract, a permanent contract like everybody else. People who don’t have documents or no longer have documents or don’t have a work permit or… There are lots of specific cases. First, their documents need to be in order. They need a 40-hour permanent contract to be able to ask for a ‘salaried employee’ residence permit from the Ministry.

Managing multiculturality

Our team currently comes from 19 countries. Yes, the whole world really does gather at Chiche! I don’t think it’s ever posed a problem anywhere. At first, I had concerns, I wondered how they would communicate. But I quickly discovered that there’s always a way.

Training staff

Most of the staff, I would say almost all of them began in Limpertsberg because we have to train them.
Except for three people, no one had ever worked in a restaurant before. Even the head waiter in the evening shift learned everything here. Before that, she was a housewife who… Cooking was her passion. Mainly Albanese cooking… Now she cooks Libyan dishes. She is very, very good. And she manages a whole team. So no… We hired people from very, very, very different backgrounds, some of whom we discovered were very talented.

Retaining employees

I still have a lot of employees who have been with us since the start. Since 2017, since Hollerich. Yes, yes… And I need them too because we’ve grown. So I need to have pillars, people I can count on to teach others.

The biggest challenge

The challenge is, I think it’s the same for every entrepreneur, it’s keeping staff motivated. We’ve just said that we need to have our next meeting very soon because after a few months, every time, motivation dwindles a bit. I need to shake things up a bit to remind employees of why we are here.

Recruiting these atypical profiles

I’ve been able to send lots of CVs to other restaurants who heard that I had lots to hand. I also know Luxembourger chains which employ migrants, such as Cocotte and others that I collaborate with. If I have CVs to hand, or if I think that: “This young man here… we should really…” I recommend him. I also work with big construction companies, heating, and plumbing, etc. When young people come to see me, when they can’t find a manager for an apprenticeship… There, I am very much involved with young migrants. Yes, I believe that there are more and more companies realising that they are short-staffed and that young migrants are highly motivated to work. So, if an entrepreneur wants to hire a migrant, they can always call me. I can always lend a helping hand with paperwork too. I do it often. I advise bosses in their efforts to obtain the necessary papers. So, no problem, you can contact me. Or even if you’re looking for CVs, for unqualified people or even qualified… As I’ve already said, I have lots of CVs to hand. I can always send them out. And maybe one more piece of advice: you can’t pass judgement on somebody after three weeks. Some people are very resourceful, but they’re carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders and take a bit of time to let go of it all before becoming great collaborators.

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