The desperate state of people and skills shortages in the hospitality sector is evidenced by the decision of one of the UK’s leading small pub groups to decide to limit dramatically its opening hours over the coming summer.
EATDRINKSLEEP, which runs multi award winning pubs such as The Gurnard’s Head in West Cornwall and The Felin Fach Griffin, near Brecon, has taken the decision to ensure that its teams are able to lead sustainable, balanced lives as the sector emerges from lockdown.
Both The Felin Fach Griffin and The Gurnard’s Head will open for lunch on only two days a week through the summer. These are pubs which publicly pride themselves on being open “all day, every day” and would normally expect to be fully booked for each day. Both will still open for dinner on seven days a week and will keep the bar open all day for passing walkers.
The decision has been taken on the back of a catastrophic, nationwide exit of skills, both to other sectors and away from the UK on the back of the lockdowns. The perfect storm is accentuated by extreme demand from customers over the next 6 months and an understandable resistance from those not yet in the workplace (school and college leavers) to commit to starting work.
Edmund Inkin, one of two brothers who own the business which has previously been named in the Top 30 Places to Work in UK Hospitality, says: “This is an existential threat for many operators in the sector. The narrative we hear is that some are simply unable to re-open. Our own take is that people will continue to be driven away from working in the industry if the work/life balance isn’t right. So, this pre-emptive step is one we want to take, even if the economics are unhelpful”.
He went on “What this enables us to do is focus attention on our evening guests and not spread ourselves thinly. Although the jobs market may loosen up in a limited way as Furlough unwinds and younger workers, particularly, find they need to earn money, we don’t expect this to be a challenge that goes away. Replacing the skills of hundreds of thousands of people doesn’t happen overnight. If the Government is not going to change the rules of the game on immigration, the sector has no option but to get back to the basics of training and reskilling its whole workforce.”
“Hospitality is a brilliant sector for people of all ages to work in, but it hasn’t felt that way to many of them over the past 12 months. We need to bring people of all ages back into it, whether as an answer to a career question or just as an introduction to the workplace. And the industry has a job to do to make sure that hospitality workplaces match up to what people now want and expect from their employers.”
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Hospitality & Catering News: Pub group limits opening hours as a consequence of people and skills shortages. – 27 May 2021 – Pub group limits opening hours as a consequence of people and skills shortages.
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