A shortage of chefs and bartenders is set to wound the hospitality trade by some £21bn in lost sales.
Nearly half of pub and restaurant operators (45 per cent) said they have been forced to slash trading hours or capacity, according to an industry-wide survey.
Lost sales will cost an estimated £5bn loss in tax for the country’s coffers, according to a joint survey by the British Beer and Pub Association, UKHospitality and the British Institute of Innkeeping.
The country’s drinking taverns and restaurants were hammered by an exodus of overseas workers amid the Covid pandemic and following Brexit.
It comes as venues are readying themselves for a summer unfettered by Covid restrictions and hoping to reap the rewards of the return of sporting and live music mass events.
The industry currently has a record 174,000 vacancies open at the moment, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
“Operators have been doing all they can to help solve the issue, from increasing wages, to flexible working. However, this can only help so much, and the sector must be given targeted support in order to solve the crisis,” the trade organisations said in a joint statement.
Shortages are the most acute among front of house roles, with 81 per cent of operators seeking job applicants in these roles.
Just over three quarters of operators (76 per cent) are hunting for new chefs, followed by less acute shortages among kitchen porters (67 per cent) and assistant managers (53 per cent).