Shooting Themselves in the Plate?


The French restaurant world is in an uproar over the recent decision to apply France’s 35-hour workweek to the restaurant trade. The current workweek is 39 hours, but as chef Antoine Westermann of the three-star Buereheisel in Strasbourg notes, "Gastronomy is like literature—you can’t be creative if you’ve got your eyes on your watch." Not only will the workweek be reduced by four hours, but the government ruling is retroactive, requiring employers to pay their employees for the four hours’ difference going back to 2004. For many smaller restaurants, this may mean "last call," and it will also likely encourage the ever-growing number of talented young French chefs who are taking jobs overseas.

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