44% of Brits say staff shortages have affected their local’s trading hours

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mindset shift: 'It is absolutely critical that young people leaving education don’t see bar work or waiting tables as dead-end jobs,' Aaron Sinkia, general manager at Aruba Bournemouth and ex-general manager at London’s Café de Paris cautions (Image: Getty Images/Nastasic)
Mindset shift: 'It is absolutely critical that young people leaving education don’t see bar work or waiting tables as dead-end jobs,' Aaron Sinkia, general manager at Aruba Bournemouth and ex-general manager at London’s Café de Paris cautions (Image: Getty Images/Nastasic)

Related tags: Health and safety, coronavirus, Staff, Legislation

Almost half of pub goers have seen local venues alter their trading hours or service patterns due to a lack of staff since the on-trade reopened under the Government’s roadmap.

According to research by global intelligence platform Streetbees, 44% of respondents said they were aware of local venues having to alter trading hours or service due to a lack of staff since pubs, bars, restaurants were allowed to reopen.

One third of those quizzed (32%) said they weren’t aware of such changes to staffing and service since sites resumed outdoor trading on 12 April and welcomed customers indoors on 17 May, while a quarter (24%) said they were “not sure”. 

Younger pub goers were most likely to have noticed a difference in operation or opening hours due to post-lockdown staff shortages with 53% of 18 to 25-year-olds noticing a change in service, compared to 48% of those between 26 and 35, 40% of the 36-45 age bracket and just 31% of those over 46.  

Streebees’ data also found that more than half of respondents have seen a pub, bar or restaurant in their area close permanently as a result of the pandemic, with 26% seeing multiple sites shuttered.

Change of system?

These figures come after pubs across the country told The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ that they’ve been forced to close​ after staff have been asked to self-isolate. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said this was an increasing issue for its members, resulting in some sites being forced to cut opening hours or close totally.

Many pub workers have been alerted by the NHS Test and Trace app as having come into contact with an infectious person and been instructed to self-isolate for up to 10 days or face a fine of up to £10,000 for repeat offences.

Staff members are also being contacted by NHS contact-tracers after colleagues have tested positive, with a large proportion of hospitality workers too young to have received two vaccine doses yet.

As a consequence, UKHospitality has called on the Government to change rules to introduce a ‘test and release’ system similar to that for international travel which would see workers perform a Covid test on day two and day five of self-isolation before returning to work if both were negative.

'Complete mindset shift'

Despite the shortages, however, only 37% of respondents to Streetbees' survey would actively encourage a friend or family member to pursue a long-term career in the hospitality sector, compared to 38% who said they wouldn't. 

Those most encouraging fell into the 18-25 year-old age bracket, where 49% claimed they would offer active encouragement to a friend or family member seeking to a career in the sector, versus just 27% of those over 46 who would do likewise.

These figures come after Aaron Sinkia, general manager at Aruba Bournemouth and ex-general manager at London’s Café de Paris, cautioned that “a complete mindset shift” is required to solve hospitality’s recruitment challenges.

“That shift can only be led from the top,” he explained. “If we as hospitality leaders don’t embrace new, fresh talent and coach recruits in the early days, we’ll never get out of this rut and will continually face recruitment challenges.

“It is absolutely critical that young people leaving education don’t see bar work or waiting tables as dead-end jobs. As industry leaders, it’s our responsibility to provide those new to the industry with an exciting and engaging career path."

Related topics: Health & safety

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