St Austell reduces opening and serving hours due to staff shortage

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

National shortage: St Austell boss Kevin Georgel penned a statement on the pub company's website regarding recruitment issues
National shortage: St Austell boss Kevin Georgel penned a statement on the pub company's website regarding recruitment issues

Related tags St austell Staff Training Cornwall Recruitment

South west-based operator and brewer St Austell has temporarily decreased its food service hours and opening hours in some of its managed sites, in a bid to tackle the current recruitment crisis.

This followed nine in 10 operators predicting issues with staff this year, an industry report found. The latest Business Confidence Survey from CGA and Fourth​ showed 51% of respondents were anticipating shortages across all roles with a further 39% worried about back of house roles.

Furthermore, research from trade body UKHospitality revealed 80% of operators reported vacancies for front-of-house roles​ and 85% needed chefs.

In a message from St Austell chief executive Kevin Georgel on its website, the pub company addressed its customers.

National staff shortage

The statement said: “We’ve been looking forward to welcoming you back to our pubs, inns and hotels for many months and have been overwhelmed at the love and support we’ve been shown since reopening. Thank you so much – it means a lot to us.

“However, reopening has also presented us with some new challenges and – like so many others – the national staff shortage is having a big impact on us.

“While we hope the worst of the pandemic is now behind us – the most challenging time in our 170-year history – the road to recovery continue to be bumpy for the hospitality sector.

“For us, and businesses across our wonderful industry, finding staff is a huge challenge at the minute.”

100% committed

The statement went on to outline how by reducing hours and service, St Austell was ensuring employees’ health remained at the fore.

It added: “Our priority will always be supporting our people. That’s why – in some cases – we’ve had to put some temporary measures in place to look after the health and wellbeing of our pub teams, until we can find additional support for them.

“You may therefore notice slight differences in some of our managed pubs, including shorter food service times, seating areas being out of use and reduced opening hours, to give our teams the time off to rest.

“It goes without saying that we remain 100% committed to offering you great experiences, delicious food, fresh beer and the warmest West Country welcome. That bit will never change!

“We are urging the Government to acknowledge the staffing crisis and to help us find a solution. This is such a crucial time, as we come out of lockdown and we want nothing more than to welcome all of you into our pubs, look after our teams and play our part in the UK’s economic recovery.

“Thank you all for your ongoing support as we move through these challenging times. Our teams are working so hard and we appreciate your patience, understanding and kindness.”

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