Staff headcount down 11% against 2019

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Deep dive: Fourth data looked at headcount across pubs and restaurants (image: Getty/10'000 Hours)
Deep dive: Fourth data looked at headcount across pubs and restaurants (image: Getty/10'000 Hours)

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The headcount of workers in pubs and restaurants was down by more than a tenth (11%) in 2022, compared to three years ago but 5% higher compared to 2021, new data has revealed.

Figures from hospitality software provider Fourth showed the hours worked in 2022 were 15% higher than 2021 but 14% lower than in 2019.

Furthermore, it also outlined hospitality staff were more productive in December 2022 as Fourth’s spend per labour hour metric, which shows productivity by calculating total sales and dividing this by hours worked, showed spend per labour hour was £42.69 in December against £38.13 in 2021 and £37.10 in 2019.

The research also showed while December figures were above Christmas 2021, when the Omicron variant was impacting sales, they were still significantly down compared to pre-pandemic trading in 2019.

The combined sales of restaurants and pubs in December were up more than a quarter (28%) against 2021, likely to have been boosted by the World Cup and the first Christmas without trading restrictions for three years.

However, against 2019 sales had slipped slightly by 1%. Fourth stated taking inflation and price hikes into account signalled the sector is still behind pre-pandemic levels.

Still a way to go

Top five sales days in 2022 for hospitality:

  1. Saturday 3 December
  2. Friday 9 December
  3. Saturday 10 December
  4. Saturday 17 December
  5. Saturday 31 December

According to figures from Fourth

When broken down, sales in pubs were up almost a third (30%) compared to the previous December but against the same month in 2019, sales were down 8%.

Fourth managing director EMEA Sebastien Sepierre said: “Christmas 2022 was supposed to be the time when hospitality could finally rejoice and enjoy the fruits of a festive season that was not severely impacted by Covid-related trading restrictions.

“To a point, that was the case with sales comfortably exceeding the returns of December 2021 and 2020.

“However, as Fourth’s figures show, there is still some way to go to get back to pre-pandemic levels and this is despite the added bonus of a winter World Cup being held in December.

“The circumstances hospitality faces in the form of the cost-of-living crisis, inflation, recruitment and consumer confidence remain and will continue to challenge performance in 2023.”

According to Sepierre, the hours worked by staff signalled firms are getting more from their teams.

Key focus areas

He added: “Recruitment and retention of talent will continue to be key areas of focus for management teams this year.

“Technology and digital solutions have a major role to play here in helping operators hire, onboard and engage team members.

“Labour scheduling strategies will also be essential in ensuring staff continue to offer the highest levels of customer service.”

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