Restaurant owners faced with staffing crisis deplore lack of mental health support from government

The Staff Canteen

UK restaurant owners are calling for the government to take action as they struggle with staffing shortages and a lack of mental health support

According to a study by online ordering firm Flipdish, which collected data from 200 UK hospitality leaders, 37 percent of restaurant owners are suffering from a decline in their mental health due to the staffing crisis, while nearly half have been working longer hours themselves to make up for the shortages.

Despite the eradication of all Covid restrictions in England recently, with Wales and Scotland set to follow, nearly a third (29 percent) of respondents said their mental health is the worst it has been since the beginning of the pandemic.

'Operators now have a difficult balancing act to perform'

The end of restrictions should signal that the industry is set for recovery, yet the 20 percent VAT tax hike for hospitality, as well as the cost of living crisis, are creating high levels of uncertainty for operators.

Restaurant owners already dealing with a talent shortage, which is leading reduced operating hours and output, which in turn compromises revenue.

They have been given a further stress and difficulty as they work to financially recover from lockdown, as many are indebted to landlords, suppliers and loan providers.

Fionn Hart, UK country manager at Flipdish, said: “As restrictions were completely lifted earlier in the year, office parties and social gatherings are on the rise, causing a spike in the number of customers coming through the door.

"Restaurant, pub, and bar operators now have a difficult balancing act to perform; fulfilling these bookings and offering promotions to get new customers through the door, while simultaneously managing the reduced staff numbers on the ground to serve them."

"It’s time the government opens its eyes to the pressures on the hospitality workforce, who are battling to protect their mental wellbeing whilst also keeping their businesses afloat. It's become clear that financial aid for the sector simply isn’t enough.”

'A severe resource crisis'

45 percent of restaurant owners reported asking staff to work longer hours and 47 percent are also increasing their own hours to cover for the shortfall. 

39 percent of the restaurant owners surveyed believe that there needs to be more support from the government to attract talent back into the hospitality sector.

Kris Hall, founder of The Burnt Chef Project, said: “High levels of stress and mental illness have been affecting our industry long before COVID-19, but this research demonstrates how brutal these past two years have been for hospitality owners. We find our sector in the middle of a severe resource crisis, with mass shortages worldwide as visitor numbers peak, yet staffing numbers continue to drop."

"In order for the hospitality profession and industry to thrive, we need to provide our leaders with the skills to manage with confidence, empathy and ensure that the wellbeing of both themselves and their teams is priority.

"This is why we at The Burnt Chef Project believe in and dedicate our time not just to helping those who have mental health issues and need someone to talk to but we also focus on building the capability of the greatest asset in our trade, the people who make up the beating heart of our industry.”

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th April 2022

Restaurant owners faced with staffing crisis deplore lack of mental health support from government