Establishments are struggling to hire front desk staff and chefs, according to a UK Hospitality study, as they face a shortage of 188,000 workers.
Bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes have been able to serve customers indoors in England since last week.
But as customers desperately need dinner, the industry has struggled to find people to serve them.
“About 80% of members report that they have vacancies at the moment, and some of them report that they are struggling to fill these positions,” said Kate Nicholls, Managing Director of UK Hospitality.
She said the uncertainty surrounding the restrictions has made the industry less attractive and calls on the government to meet reopening dates and lift everything. COVID restrictions by 21st of June.
“The government must restore confidence in the hospitality industry so that it is once again seen as a stable employer and provider of fulfilling careers,” she said.
But COVID restrictions aren’t the only problem the industry faces, as some companies complain Brexit has also contributed to staff shortages as EU workers choose to stay in their home countries. .
“It’s sort of a perfect storm of Brexi, COVID and leave, ”said James Chiavarini, who runs Il Portico, an Italian restaurant that has been in the family for 55 years.
He said it was “nice” to have “coming back” clients, but said he spends six to seven hours a day looking for people to hire.
“We’re opening a new restaurant next month and we have about seven vacancies to fill and we have about 26 days to fill them all,” he said.
“And now there’s the added pressure of visas, Brexit and paperwork that no one really understands. “
Many foreign workers who returned home at the start of the pandemic have not returned, with nearly a fifth saying the costs of the quarantine on return were preventing them, according to UK Hospitality.
For this reason, he calls on the government to consider a visa regime for hospitality workers who do not qualify for the points-based immigration system.
But in the short term, he’s asking for help to encourage UK-based workers to join the industry.
Some bars and restaurants are taking matters into their own hands and finding unique ways to get staff on the books.
Laura Harper-Hinton is one of the founders of Caravan Restaurants and has paid customers to recommend friends for work.
“It’s a very simple program. It’s a £ 100 voucher for anyone who recommends a Caravan Superstar, ”said Harper-Hinton.
“We had incredible feedback – in 24 hours we had 60 responses. “
Although the recruiting program has worked so far, Ms Harper-Hinton said it was not sustainable.
“Without government intervention, we will not see enough people returning to the area that we need or need,” she said.
The government said it was doing everything possible to help hospitality recover after the indoor venues reopened earlier this month.
In a statement, he said: “Our dedicated work coaches support people in their jobs, including in the hospitality industry, and through the Kickstart program, we provide generous incentives for employers to recruit, with hundreds of young people who start working every day.
He also said he was working with the sector to understand the impact on job shortages resulting from the EU exit and the pandemic.