This is the key message from hospitality venues across the region this season.
One of the ongoing and longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is a critical lack of employees in the hospitality sector this summer.
Hospitality, like many other industries in the local economy, relies on overseas employees to help cover seasonal labour shortages over summer. These overseas staff usually arrive on our shores with the training and experience needed to meet the needs of kiwi businesses. This year is of course a dramatic exception.
Despite early and on-going recruitment, there are simply not enough ready, willing, and able workers available to fill the gaps. Even with business owners working all hours at the coal face there are still many vacancies, especially for experienced chefs and managers. Many of our favourite venues may be forced to limit operating hours, including reducing opening days from seven days a week down to six or five to ensure their current loyal employees get the rest they deserve.
Ian Williams, Hospitality New Zealand Branch President for Nelson, noted that the real pinch will mainly be during the school holidays, Christmas, New Year, and when large events impact the City.
“All venues are geared up to provide the best service possible, but please bear with us, understand the pressure we’re under this year, and be kind to our fabulous staff so that they also have a happy workplace,” said Williams.
“We are so fortunate to live and work here, and to make this a happy season we need the regional team of 100,000 behind us. We celebrate the fact that we are open and running, which is a rarity around the planet right now, so it’s a season of goodwill we’re looking for locally.”
“We have gone all out to bring joy to the City and get lots going on in ‘our own back yard’, but there could be longer queues and extra wait times in bars and restaurants. It’s an opportunity to show our workers that we care about them too,” commented Uniquely Nelson manager Simon Duffy.
If visiting a hospitality business in the region this summer, please think of the hours the staff work, and the likelihood that they are covering multiple roles to help keep the business afloat, and be kind, be patient.