One pub operator described table service as draining amid struggles to recruit more front of house staff to keep up with the extra workload.
Kate Daws runs the Gloucester Old Spot in Bristol and has already had to recruit eight new staff members to keep up with the added pressures of table service.
“I’m still looking to recruit more and there aren’t any,” she said.
“I can't find staff looking for work, unless they’re 16 or 18 and have just left school or they have just come out of uni for the summer. That’s my next port of call but it's not permanent, that's the problem.”
Daws said she will keep an aspect of table service beyond the next step of lockdown easing because it improves the quality of customers' experiences.
“It's very busy, it's very intense but I am enjoying welcoming and looking after customers,” she said.
A UKHospitality survey found 80% of hospitality operators reported vacancies for front of house roles and 85% needed chefs.
The survey of hundreds of hospitality operators suggested a current sector-wide vacancy rate of 9%, implying a shortage of 188,000 workers.
UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls called on the Government to “restore confidence” in the sector so it appeared a stable and fulfilling career to jobseekers.
Pushing forward with removing trading restrictions from Monday 21 June would restore consumer confidence and assure workers of a strong recovery.
She added: “Beyond this, the single biggest act of support that Government could give would be to encourage more UK-based workers to join the hospitality sector.”
UKH is asking the Government to review its list of shortage occupations and introduce an Australian-style visa scheme to enable those who don’t need the points-based system to move to work in pubs and restaurants.
What’s more, digital staffing platform Coople reported a spike of 124% in the number of hospitality hours that need to be filled.
Michael Perry, head of hospitality at the platform, said his research showed lockdown had “shaken the confidence” of a significant number of hospitality employees.
He added: “The hospitality industry needs to provide workers with job opportunities and career progression, to professionalise the industry to attract people back. Some flexible workers have used lockdown as an opportunity to retrain, gain more qualifications or switch careers to industries they regard as more reliable - the industry must compete with this.”