Bexhill hospitality sector facing ‘employment crisis’ as it struggles to fill vacancies

Bexhill’s hospitality sector is struggling to fill vacancies as it faces an ‘employment crisis’ and continuing uncertainty.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 3:02 pm

Restaurants and cafes are also finding it hard to retain staff.

One restaurateur is currently working 18 hours a day due to staff shortages, according to Bexhill Chamber of Commerce.

Its president, Howard Martin, said: “Bexhill Chamber of Commerce can confirm that hospitality is facing an employment crisis across the board with restaurants and cafes finding it difficult to retain and recruit staff.

Howard Martin, President of Bexhill Chamber of Commerce SUS-210629-114702001

“While many are welcoming the boom in business that has come with the lifting of lockdown and the increase in visitor numbers this summer they are also struggling to meet that demand.

“One Bexhill restaurateur has been regularly working as chef and manager for 18 hours a day due to staff shortages.

“Fortunately, as many of Bexhill’s top restaurants are family-run rather than chains, they are able to pull in family members from across the country to help out.

“One owner of three restaurants in Bexhill has been able to recruit family members from as far away as the West Midlands to help out over summer.

“There are several reasons for this happening. Brexit has made recruitment of EU staff more difficult regardless of the Covid crisis, some are finding that ending furlough for staff has meant that staff are just quitting work altogether citing ‘health risks’, but overall there has been a chronic under-investment in training for and respect for the hospitality and service sector.”

Bexhill MP, Huw Merriman said: “During English Tourism week in May, I visited a number of hospitality businesses in the constituency and, as Howard Martin has highlighted, many are struggling to recruit staff.

“They tell me that there are a number of reasons why their staff have not returned - some took on second jobs whilst on furlough and they have decided to stay on with new employers to build new careers in sectors which offer more sociable hours.

“Others had returned to their native European countries during the pandemic and have yet to come back.

“The hospitality sector has had such a tough year and is looking to recruit into their businesses for the busy summer ahead. There is a big challenge out there for them.

“To attract new people into this industry, there needs to be good training and support, career prospects and competitive wages to compensate for the unsocial hours that can be involved.

“Having managed two student bars at university, I know that working in hospitality is a demanding but incredibly rewarding job with a real buzz where no two days are the same.

“It teaches people management and customer service skills that wouldn’t be developed so quickly in many other lines of work.

“It is a great starting place for a huge range of careers so I would urge those looking for work over the summer to pop into our local restaurants, bars and other venues and find out what’s on offer.”