Some 93% of restaurateurs are struggling to find staff, with over half expecting the situation to worsen after Brexit, according to new research.
A survey of 350 operators by the Institute of Hospitality has found that staff turnover was increasing or static in 95% of restaurants, as hiring and retaining talent has become a critical issue for the majority of operators.
The majority of those polled also thought that the situation would be worsened by Brexit, with 58% expecting hiring to be harder.
Presented at Planday's Restaurant 2020 conference last night (Thursday), the survey results found that half of restaurateurs said that EU staff had expressed concern about right to remain after Brexit.
Planday chief executive Christian Brondrum said that when the research was commissioned the business Brexit to have a significant impact.
He added: "What we didn't anticipate was how much of a hiring crisis the hospitality sector is currently experiencing. In such a competitive environment restaurateurs need to reconsider how they can compete for the best talent.
"This means improving how they currently engage with employees to build trust and loyalty. This can be done through ensuring the systems in place are easy to interact with and can empower staff to take control of their role. It isn't just restaurateurs that need to take this on board, it's a mindset that should be embedded across every hospitality business."
Institute of Hospitality chief executive Peter Ducker said that finding the right people was the biggest business challenge facing restaurateurs.
He said: "I was talking to a very successful and well regarded restaurateur with a string of high end restaurants in London. He has equity money behind him and backers that want to open another six restaurants. He won't do as it he knows the quality will suffer when they are unable to find the staff to run them.
"As an industry we've always relied on people from overseas coming to work here. It has always been the case and will remain that way."
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