“Hiring people, it pays more,” he assures against the generally accepted ideas put forward to explain the reluctance.

“My servers are sellers. Today, they are happy at work, happy at home and sell more than a tired guy”, explains to AFP this 37-year-old boss, former participant of the Top Chef show. whose showcase establishment, the Auberge du Vert Mont, won its Michelin star this year.

At the head of four establishments around Lille, he employs 65 people, compared to around fifty on leaving confinement and is aiming for a hundred this fall, with around twenty recruitments in progress.

In June 2020, convinced by a Danish friend specializing in happiness at work, he took the plunge by offering, for the same salary, a 3rd day of weekly rest to his staff in addition to Sunday and Monday, closing days. This 3rd day is granted in rotation: if it falls on a Tuesday, the following week is Wednesday and so on.

“There, I’m coming out of a four-day weekend”, testifies Paul Nigeon, 24-year-old cook from Bloempot, paid 1,900 euros net for 39 hours a week, who had before rather known 90 hours per week.

“I had heard of it but I didn’t think that the four-day week would change my life so much. I had never experienced it in ten years in the business”, testifies the young man.

The chef, knife tattooed on one arm, fork on the other, also grants 6.5 weeks of paid leave per year and will distribute profit sharing.

– Profitability and legal risks? –

With three days of rest, the employee “rests more”, “overwrites the effects of home-work transport times”, is “more present with his children” and “can save a day of nursery”, details Alain Raluy, expert of the specialist firm In Extenso.

However, if Laurent Fréchet, one of the leaders of the sectoral employers’ organization GNI, attests that this organization is “a good solution for better recruiting”, it nevertheless remains marginal.

According to Bernard Boutboul, head of the sector consulting firm Gira, “only about 2% of the 200,000 restaurants in France” would study it.

“Many establishments tested the four-day week at the beginning of the 21st century and came back from it,” recalls Mr. Raluy. “After several months of observation, they had noticed effects on the difficulty, errors and overall quality of service”, the work being collected in a shorter time.

According to the expert, the bosses fear the explosion of “legal risks”: employees could take advantage of it to work on the black market, a sectoral evil, during this extra day.

In the hotel industry, however, this organization already applies largely to night work.

In the kitchen, “we can distribute the work over four days with rotation schemes. But the room remains conditioned by the presence of customers and we will continue to work over five days”, predicts Mr. Raluy.

“We would condemn to death a business open only four days. Some 3 Michelin stars apart”, he continues.

“The real question is not the notoriety of the chef, it’s how much the boss takes”, answers Mr. Ladeyn. “I know some who pocket 10,000 euros a month. They are the ones who have a hard time recruiting”.

While the opening amplitude of restaurants tends to be reduced, the northern chef also wonders if “hiring a 3rd team to be able to open seven days a week”, with there too more weekly rest, does not not stem the staff shortage.

Aware of habits, however, he remains optimistic.

“In this job, we find it normal to work 60 hours a week. If we manage to change, others can do it. In catering, we are not the smartest and yet the chefs think they are gods “, he regrets in the face of immobility.