Published: 11:25, 17 June 2021
| Updated: 11:27, 17 June 2021
A huge recruitment drive is being launched by Kent’s biggest pub owner - as the hospitality sector wrestles with major staff shortages.
Shepherd Neame, based in Faversham, is advertising for 300 jobs across the south east as it gears up for a full re-opening next month.
But others in the industry say the lack of people willing to work in hospitality following the Covid lockdowns is becoming “a serious problem”.
Marc Brigden, who runs the award-winning Dog at Wingham, needs front of house staff and chefs but his adverts have had little response.
And he says it’s an issue not just for pubs, restaurants and hotels but also in the supply chain and support industries.
About 11.5 million people still remain on the government’s job retention scheme.
UK Hospitality, which represents the industry, is reporting up to almost 200,000 vacancies in the sector.
They say the problem has been made worse by many people finding alternative careers during the pandemic.
Many businesses are even offering above minimum wage and other incentives to try and attract applicants.
But Mr Brigden says there is nothing to stop those still on furlough taking jobs in hospitality until their roles return.
“They just seem to be happy sitting at home or going out and enjoying the weather on 80% pay,” he said.
His gastropub has two rosettes for culinary excellence and was voted best for food in the Great British Pub awards in 2019 and won best front of house team in the 2021 Top 50 Gastro Pubs awards.
"I'm hearing about staff shortages everywhere across industry, in areas like the supply chain and farming ..."
Yet despite its credentials, he says he has had very little response to his adverts.
“It’s becoming a serious problem because you need a certain level of staffing to provide the right kind of service,” said Mr Brigden
“I’m hearing about staff shortages everywhere across industry, in areas like the supply chain and farming.
“Even firms like the one which looks after our laundry and our wholesale drinks suppliers desperately need operatives and drivers.”
Shepherd Neame’s director of retail and tenanted operations, Nigel Bunting says they expect to be busy this summer as people enjoy socialising and reconnecting with friends and loved ones once again.
“In preparation for this, we are recruiting more than 300 full and part-time team members across a variety of management, front of house and kitchen roles,” he added.