The Walnut Tree forced to close temporarily due to staff shortage

27 July 2021 by
The Walnut Tree forced to close temporarily due to staff shortage

The Michelin-starred Walnut Tree near Abergavenny in Monmouthshire has become the latest restaurant forced to close temporarily due to a shortage of staff.

Chef and co-owner Shaun Hill posted on Twitter over the weekend that the venue would not be able to open this week due to "very few crew" and had been relying on "a couple of people who used to work for me to get through" the last two weeks. He said the restaurant was operating with three members of staff rather than the usual eight.

The venue is planned to reopen on 4 August, he added: "Keep fingers crossed nobody sick or unable to cope".

Hill told The Caterer in May when the restaurant was able to reopen for indoor service that he was down to four or five members of staff at the time: "You can't blame people – there's always a certain amount of turnover, especially in the more junior ranks in restaurant kitchens, and all this has compressed it.

"I think we're due a skills shortage. It's a difficult job and recruiting got easier for a while [but] I'm not sure how much of that glamour is still there to attract people in."

The Michelin-starred Ritz restaurant in London's Mayfair closed last week. The Daily Mail reported that it was due to staff being ‘pinged' by the NHS Test and Trace app, which has further exacerbated the shortage of staff in the sector. Guests with reservations were contacted by email and told the restaurant was temporarily closed "until further notice, due to unforeseen circumstances".

Meanwhile, the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche restaurant in London's Mayfair was forced to go dinner service-only from mid-June due to not having enough staff.

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