EOTHO increases scheduled staff hours by 44%
Figures from hospitality software provider Fourth has found that the Government-backed Eat Out to Help Out scheme increased the scheduled hours worked by hospitality staff from 12.9m in July to 20.1m in August – an extra 821 years’ worth of extra work.
The data, which was drawn from Fourth's analysis of over 700 companies across the restaurant, pub and bar, and fast food restaurant sectors, found that the 20.1m hours worked in August was only 41% down on 2019 when 34.2m scheduled hours were worked.
According to Fourth’s analysis, hospitality hours worked in July 2020 were down by 63% year-on-year – 12.9m hours versus 35m hours – while June 2020’s numbers were was down by a huge 85% – 5.1m versus 33.1m – as venues were still shuttered by the Government’s enforced closure.
The data also found that the average number of hours worked per employee was flat year-on-year despite the average number of people scheduled to work falling by 40% as operators scaled down staff numbers in reaction to reduced capacity.
Fourth also found that the total staff headcount across the 700 companies it analysed was down by 15% in August compared to the previous year, with pubs, restaurants and hotels seeing a 16% decrease.
Max Tucker, Fourth’s director of analytics across Europe, the Middle East and Africa described August’s figures as “very encouraging across the board” for hospitality operators.
“The rise in hours worked across the sector coincided with a number of key factors, including the continued re-opening of the industry, the success of EOTHO, warm weather and the Bank Holiday weekend – all driving consumers into venues,” he explained.
Brighton Pier Group sites announce staff layoffs
The bars division of Brighton Pier Group has been forced into a number of staff layoffs due to the ongoing uncertainty around the reopening of the late-night sector and the end of the furlough scheme, The Morning Advertiser’s (MA) sister title MCA Insight has revealed.
The Group has only been able to reopen two of its 12 bars, Lowlander in central London, and the outside terrace at Coalition, Brighton since lockdown restrictions were eased on 4 July.
With no reopening date for late night venues confirmed thus far, the Group is trialling a new trading model in some of its larger sites – such as west London venues Le Fez in Putney and Embargo in Chelsea – where repurposed dancefloors are being used seat socially distanced customers, with no live music or dancing.
“Re-opening of the late-night bars had been scheduled to commence in October, but as time has progressed the Government has continued to avoid making any commitment to an opening date,” a Group statement explained.
“This lack of certainty coupled with the Government’s intention to end the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by the end of October has resulted in the Bars division having to terminate the contracts for those members of staff for whom we cannot currently provide any prospect of work for the foreseeable future.”
Despite adverse trading conditions, Group trading between 4 July and 6 September has been above expectations, with total revenue from all open operations at 77% of the same period last year.
“There remains however an urgent need for the Government to agree a plan for the re-opening of our late-night estate so that we can manage their return to business as quickly and effectively as possible,” chief executive Anne Ackord said.
L&T applications at Star Pubs & Bars return to 2019 levels
The number of leased and tenanted applications at Heineken’s pub arm, Star Pubs & Bars, has returned to pre-pandemic levels according to the 2,500-site operator’s latest figures.
According to Star Pubs & Bars’ data, the operator received in the region of 30 applications per week at the height of lockdown with a greater proportion of candidates also boasting previous licensed trade experience, a clear vision for prospective pubs and funds in place.
What’s more, of the 29 leased and tenanted pubs where Star Pubs & Bars either had joint refurbishments underway or scheduled for later in the year before lockdown delayed plans, all but one publican has chosen to proceed.
“Our estate is primarily suburban community locals and drive-to destination pubs, which is where operators see the opportunities,” Hance McPherson, Star Pubs & Bars’ recruitment manager explained. “People are working from home more and travelling less on public transport, and so are opting to stay local.
“This is great news for pubs in these locations, which are premiumising their offers, and for the refurbishment projects we are undertaking as they meet this demand and so are encouraging licensees to invest.
“Applicants are mindful of the immediate challenges that pubs face but have confidence in the long term.
“During lockdown they were able to research the market thoroughly and put-together well thought through business plans. The result is pent-up demand from quality applicants.”
Since lockdown, Star Pubs & Bars has invested £25m in support of its 2,300 leased and tenanted pubs.
£6.6m JDW investment to create more than 125 jobs
As reported by The MA, pub giant JDW’s plans to splash out £6.6m on a pair of new pubs in Yorkshire are expected to create more than 125 new jobs.
Work is expected to begin on a site in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, on 28 September with the pub’s unveiling slated for March 2021.
What’s more, on 5 October JDW will begin development of a new pub in Headingley, Leeds, before an April 2021 opening.
“We are delighted that development work is due to begin soon,” JDW chief executive John Hutson said.
“We believe both pubs will be assets to their respective areas and hopefully act as a catalyst for further investment.
“We are confident that both pubs will appeal to a wide range of people.”
Close to 1m hospitality jobs at risk during ‘bleak winter months’
At least 900,000 hospitality sector jobs could be lost unless the Government provides sector-specific staff support, UKHospitality has warned.
In order to prevent mass job losses, the trade body has called on the Government to provide 50% wage support for businesses affected by local lockdowns or forced to put employees on short term working hours.
It has also called for tailored financial support for legally closed businesses – including an ongoing allowance for staff, training and rent – as well as fully funded training packages for employees in depressed areas.
Though chief executive Kate Nicholls praised the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs in assisting businesses retain employees through the ongoing pandemic while giving evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on 15 September, she stressed that the hospitality sector will struggle amid uncertain demand and trade in the coming months.
“It is undeniable that this crisis has massively damaged our ability to employ,” she said. “Parts of the sector remain closed; a whole range of activities are not permitted; and the rest remains substantially below capacity.
“As a sector we have utilised flexible furlough to get as many people as possible back into the world of work, but we are at a very delicate stage.
“Redundancies have risen, driven by Company Voluntary Agreements caused by landlords demanding rent payments.
“Of those staff that remain around half are back at work. A further 16% are on flexible furlough. Just over a third of the sector remains on full furlough.
“We are concerned that this leaves at least 900,000 people in our sector at risk of redundancy without further support.
“The hospitality sector has a proven track record in delivering jobs growth. But we need Government to be flexible in its approach and to provide the necessary support over the bleak winter months in order for our sector to continue to play a role in the economic recovery.”
More than 700,000 jobs at risk, warns NTIA
The collapse of the night-time economy would add almost three quarters of a million job losses to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) total, the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) has cautioned.
While new ONS data shows that 695,000 jobs have been lost since March 2020, NTIA warns that more than 700,000 jobs in the sector could follow suit within weeks without urgent Government intervention.
A recent survey of NTIA members found that 71% of businesses are set to make more than half of their workforce redundant in a matter of weeks while more than half (58%) feel they will be unable to survive longer than two months without further Government backing.
“While these unemployment figures are harrowing, they come as no surprise,” NTIA’s chief executive, Michael Kill, explained.
“The night-time economy alone has been hugely damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and is on the brink of collapse and an onslaught of redundancies.
“The end of the furlough scheme is fast approaching, and our industry is one of few without a ‘road-map’ to reopening or sector-specific support.
“The end of the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme will come as the final blow to thousands of businesses struggling for survival.
“We are reaching a critical point and without decisive and comprehensive action from the Government, businesses will be forced to make tough decisions about their futures and those of their staff.”