MONTREAL -- A new report out of Montreal's key business support organization has identified supply and staff shortanges as key issues that need to be addressed in the restaurant industry if it hopes to bounce back after a decimating COVID-19 pandemic year.

The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal's 54-page "Chefs and independent restaurateurs in Quebec gastronomy: a lever for the economic relaunch of Montréal and Quebec" report outlines an impact study and roadmap that proposed introducing a new association that would serve as a "mobilization vehicle" for the industry that "will be a hybrid between a cluster, an alliance, and a community of practice."

The report shows that 22 per cent of kitchen staff have left their jobs during the pandemic due to prolonged closures and that chef school enrolment has dropped 33 per cent.

One of the proposals in the report, thus, suggests developing the culinary trades in partnership with schools to boost enrolment and fill staffing voids.

The report also notes that the niche product network has seen a 25 to 35 per cent reduction in the supply of products for chefs and restauranteurs.

Another suggestion in the report is that the association develop niche producers' ecosystem "by reinforcing and structuring their relationship with major restaurateurs to accelerate innovation and facilitate its financing."

The report also suggests accelerating the introduction of technology into the industry, and to "increase the international influence of Quebec gastronomy, in partnership with organizations that make that their main mission, for example, Tourisme Montreal."

The report was initiated by Signe Toque! chef Normand Laprise and Montreal Plaza chef Charles-Antoine Crete, and conducted by the IdeesFX consulting firm.