Staff shortages see restaurateur cease food service at Malmesbury restaurant

13 May 2022 by
Staff shortages see restaurateur cease food service at Malmesbury restaurant

Staff shortages have forced the owner of six restaurants in the south-west of England to stop serving food at one of his sites.

Flamur Doku, owner of the La Campagna restaurants, made the decision to suspend food service at the Malmesbury site in Wiltshire and reallocate staff across the other restaurants.

Across the group he had vacancies for 10 chefs and seven or eight front of house team members.

He told The Caterer: "I was having [recruitment] problems across all of the restaurants and rather than compromise we decided to close one so we could fully staff the others until we can bring in some people and train them. It made more sense to me to move them over and support the other sites.

"A lot of sites have been getting busy, the others have gardens and when the weather was good they were really busy."

Doku said current operating conditions were the most challenging he has experienced, adding that the loss of those who left the industry during the pandemic combined with the lack of EU workers following Brexit had left an industry wide shortage.

He added: "I started as a kitchen porter and a lot of people working in the industry have done the same going on to cheffing and then managerial roles and progressing upwards. But now we can't fill the vacancies at the bottom. As much as it's enjoyable the hours are unsociable and they tend not to want to do that anymore.

"We will have to look at ways we can sustain and retain staff and motivate and make all the necessary arrangements to make sure it's a good place to work in."

With pressures and costs mounting Doku said he was looking at other measures to implement, but that he did not want to compromise on serving fresh food, made to order.

With summer approaching he hopes he will be able to reopen Malmesbury for food in a few weeks and added that he has already received some CVs from potential recruits.

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