Post COVID lifestyle changes cause hospitality staff shortages

The Australian hospitality industry is suffering from a major staff shortage, leaving many restaurants and hotels drastically understaffed at a time when demand is higher than ever.

Marilyn Annecchini, co-owner of 5 star Sardinian restaurant Pilu, says the restaurant advertised for a vacant chef position on LinkedIn, with the only requirement being that the applicant live in Australia.  As yet, no one in Australia has applied, while 61 highly experienced overseas candidates submitted applications.
Annecchini, with husband and renowned chef Giovanni Pilu, said they usually rely on overseas staff to fill these positions but with closed borders, they are now seeking to train anyone who is interested.
The staff shortage has meant that they can only open the restaurant five days a week instead of six. It is a similar story across the restaurant industry, which is struggling to return to pre-COVID operating hours.
Further exacerbating the problem are returned employees looking for more work-life balance following lockdown.
“It’s a catch 22 situation,” Ms Annecchini said.
“We’ve got the customers, but we can’t get the staff.”
Hugo’s in Manly has suffered a similar experience. While it has put on 40 new staff, it is 20 short of pre-COVID numbers.
Hugo’s has resorted to calling out to appealing to mums and dads of kids starting university wanting casual work.
“We are looking for locals who want to be the next Gordon Ramsey — or Pete Evans (his controversial brother who is also a chef),” owner Dave Evans joked.
Evans reiterated the point that staff no longer want to work the brutal hours, having reconnected with families and their lives while in lockdown.
The hotel industry has also found itself in a similar situation.
Pre Covid, Q Station in Manly relied heavily on overseas students that were studying hospitality at the International College of Management, Sydney.
Q Station is now struggling to find staff.
The Manly hotel began advertising after Christmas for a number of casual, full time and senior roles.
15th March 2021
Director of the hotel, Suzanne Stanton, said they are booking a lot of customers but the staff shortage is a problem. They are seeking local people of all ages that they can train to fill a wide range of jobs.

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