Restaurant group Corbin & King has launched an initiative to employ more people over the age of 50 in a move that it believes will create a better and more diverse workforce, MCA’s sister title BigHospitality reports.

The company, which operates restaurants including Brasserie Zédel, The Delaunay and The Wolseley in the capital, as well as the recently opened Café Wolseley in Oxford’s Bicester Village, is looking to more than double the number of staff aged over 50 that it employs. Currently 65 people over 50 are employed at the group, which has a total workforce of around 900.

“Around 30% of the UK workforce is now aged 50 or over, yet this is not reflected in hotels and catering,” says co-founder Jeremy King. “This is a missed opportunity.”

King says the hospitality industry needs to do more to attract older workers, and is often regarded as a place more suitable for younger people.

“Often we are very ageist, there is a prejudice in the industry,” he says. “There are a lot of people who have been in restaurant business and then gone off and done other things and they feel uncomfortable about coming back because they are perceived to be too old. Speaking as someone who is 64 - even when you’re in your 60s you still think you’re 28.”

The move comes as findings from a YouGov poll of more than 1,100 employees over the age of 50, commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better, show that, since turning 50, 14% of over-50 employees believe they have been turned down for a job due to their age and nearly one in five (18%) have or have considered hiding their age in job applications.

The report Becoming an age-friendly employer, published today (10 September) in partnership with Business in the Community, also found that 46% of people think their age would disadvantage them in applying for a job and 20% think people see them as less capable due to their age.

A full interview with Jeremy King will feature in the October edition of Restaurant magazine.