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Job shortages could force hospitality venues to close over festive period

11th November 2021

Businesses in the hospitality sector are struggling to recruit the numbers of staff required to “deliver as good a Christmas…as we would want to”, states UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls.

According to the association’s latest reports, the sector is short 200,000 staff compared to where it would want to be in preparation for the festive season.

This may force businesses to have to make difficult decisions and rethink their plans for the period.

Though some have already made the choice to close on Christmas and Boxing Day, others may decide to reduce their operating hours or restrict the number of bookings they take in order to provide a high standard of service.

Unfortunately, this job shortage crisis is not a new problem, as the number of vacancies in the sector was widely reported between April and June of this year.

Currently, more than 8 in 10 hospitality businesses are looking for front of house staff, while 2 in 3 are in need of chefs. Additionally, more than a third are looking for assistant managers and a similar number are trying to hire pot washers.

Consequently, many businesses are having to offer higher wages in order to attract new employees, with some businesses offering new employees up to 10% more than their standard wage.

At a time when hospitality businesses are facing other significant cost pressures, such as paying higher prices for ingredients and increased utility bills, many see no choice but to pass on these increased costs to their customers in the form of higher prices on food and drink.

If hospitality businesses are not able to open over the festive period, due to these pressures, it could prove to be a significant blow to during the most lucrative trading period of the year.

Businesses in hospitality typically generate around 40% of their annual profits during the weeks between Halloween and New Year. The next month and a half could be crucial to their post-COVID recovery.

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