Hospitality businesses adjusting trading hours or temporarily closing as temperatures soar

18 July 2022 by
Hospitality businesses adjusting trading hours or temporarily closing as temperatures soar

Hospitality businesses are preparing for the heatwave this week with temperatures forecast to rise to up to 41 degrees celsius in parts of the UK.

The Met Office has issued a red warning, while Network Rail advised people to avoid travel on Monday (18 July) and Tuesday (19 July) unless strictly necessary.

Laura Christie, co-owner of Oklava, said that restaurant bookings will be limited to 6-9pm on Tuesday, as opposed to the usual 5.30-10pm, in order to reduce working hours for staff.

The Wild Beer and Loki Poke restaurants in Bristol's Wapping Wharf shipping container development both temporarily closed on Monday. In a post on Instagram Loki Poke said that "metal container + heatwave" was not a good combination.

The team behind the Maray restaurant group, which has four sites in Liverpool and Manchester, announced they would close their venue in Liverpool's Bold Street for two days.

Posting on social media, the restaurant group said: "The reason for shutting this site is that due to the setup and size of the kitchen, it gets very hot in the summer. So with these impending extreme temperatures we believe it's the safest course of action and want to prioritise the wellbeing of the team.

"Our other restaurants have either open kitchens or stronger air inflow systems meaning they are much cooler, and will remain open as usual."

For Howard Lewis, general manager at the flagship Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village, which opened on 4 July, the priority was to keep his staff cool.

He said: "[We want them to] drink plenty of water and adjust their uniform if [they] need to so that they are not too hot and bothered."

"We have 221 rooms. We're lucky to have air conditioning in all our rooms [and we will] draw the curtains in the afternoon to keep the sun out."

The increased demand for air conditioning comes after a recent ONS report revealed that seven in ten hospitality businesses have already been impacted by rising energy prices.

Lewis stressed that "we're lucky to have a new building" that can automatically control the temperature of individual rooms.

William Oddono, the son of the chief executive officer of the London-based Italian gelato company Oddono's, who works at the group's South Kensington parlour, said the chain was prepared to sell-out of certain flavours during the heatwave.

He said: "Instead of one gelato chef, we've got two. We're working double time and doing our best to keep providing our customers with ice cream as much as possible."

His previous experience of heatwaves showed that Oddono's "make the most sales at the hour before closing", especially on summer nights.

Jim Turner, manager of the Victoria pub in Oxford, expected the same. He said: "We'll open from 4pm Monday as we do Monday to Thursday until midnight. We'll probably see service dip when it's warm and then we'll get a rush of sundown crowd around 9.30pm, 10pm."

There is no legal upper limit to how hot a working environment can be. However, employers are under obligations to make sure working environments are safe.

Image: / Shutterstock

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