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Waiting and Bar Staff Shortage

Pubs and restaurants relying on students working two-hour shifts in bid to stay open

Hospitality venues are using apps to source Waiting and Bar Staff for a fraction of a traditional shift while others are closing down amid staff shortages.

Pubs and restaurants are being forced to rely on students working two-hour shifts to stay open, as venues in some of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations are closing due to staff shortages.

Hospitality venues are increasingly turning to Uber-style apps which provide workers for a fraction of a traditional shift.

Industry leaders say young people are reluctant to commit to eight-hour shifts in what have traditionally been seen as stressful and poorly paid jobs.

One platform, Stint, has now seen around 75,000 students sign up to work micro shifts in bars, clubs and restaurants at their busiest times of day.

Sol Schlagman, who founded the app, said the pandemic had caused younger people to value their mental health more highly and they were reluctant to submit themselves to the stress of serving lots of customers while understaffed.

‘Companies need to think about how to make Waiting and Bar Staff jobs more attractive’

“What companies need to do is really think about how important it is to make working in hospitality more attractive,” he said.

“In particular, bringing in people during the busiest hours to relieve pressure.”

It came as hospitality venues in tourist hotspots are shutting shop for two days or longer to give existing staff a break during what should still be a lucrative time of year.

Some have resorted to putting up signs apologising for the closure and explaining they have fallen victim to the national shortage of hospitality workers.

Among the counties particularly badly hit are Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, where businesses had been hoping to take full advantage of the renewed popularity of staycations.

‘It’s a nightmare’

In one popular coastal village, Hope Cove in Devon, the two pubs and restaurant have been forced to close on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to give their hard pressed staff time off.

The nearby town of Kingsbridge has also suffered from a shortage of bar staff and waiters.

The Crab Shell pub and restaurant, along the town’s picturesque quay, has been forced shut its upstairs balcony area in order for the staff it has managed to recruit to serve its downstairs tables.

One of the venue’s managers said: “It’s a nightmare. First the Europeans went home and can’t come back. Then the students who work for us over the summer went back to university. Replacing them has been impossible.

“Local youngsters see it as an insecure job since Covid, with the fear of hospitality having to shut again. On top of that it’s not particularly well paid so they’d rather go elsewhere.”

The original version of this article was first published on The Telegraph

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