With a welcome burst of warm weather hopefully moving in and hospitality venues now enjoying improved opening rules, beer gardens and alfresco dining terraces are set to be packed over the forthcoming UK bank holiday.

But behind the scenes in kitchens and other back of house areas, the situation is very different as the hospitality sector is facing a jobs crisis that threatens to hold back its recovery.

This week a number of restaurant groups and high profile chains, revealed some of the measures they are taking to try and attract people in to the sector, such as cash incentives and recommend a friend schemes targeting customers. The challenge is a result of overseas staff returning home and the stop-start nature of lockdown forcing many to give up on the sector.

The volatility of this sector is something that we at BHSF are well aware of. Employees across all industries are navigating a whole new set of mental health concerns borne out of the pandemic itself, but for those working in the UK hospitality sector, the impact remains intense. Life can prove a struggle at any point in time and especially within a typically fast-paced culture that results in people working long, irregular shift patterns. Overlay the financial anxieties associated with the pandemic such as concerns over eligibility for furlough, multiple lockdowns and long term fears for job security, and it is no wonder that hospitality workers have been hit hard by the current crisis.

We’re proud that we’ve been able to make a difference to a number of nationwide bar chains and restaurant groups, including Prezzo restaurants, during such a tough shift. We’re providing those working in front of house and back of house roles, everything from a friendly, impartial ear, to access to specialist guidance. With the BHSF Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), they can connect to a 24/7 telephone counselling helpline and speak in confidence to an accredited counsellor for advice. We are able to connect individuals to emotional, financial and legal support quickly and easily.

Hayley Moosa, Head of HR at Prezzo explains why these kind of packages are the right ingredient for the sector:

“Just because a colleague might not want to carve out a long-term career in the sector, doesn’t mean they matter any less. Such working patterns often mean that employees and their worries can be ‘lost’ from role to role. The volatility that UK hospitality has faced has further compounded stresses. The impact on colleagues has been intense in a variety of ways; physical, financial and mental. Having such a robust programme of support and benefits in place has been key to helping our teams today, but it will also be vital for our future recruitment and retention needs.”

Dialogue continues between hospitality bodies and government about future coronavirus recovery measures and grants, but we hope that forward-thinking organisations in the sector will remain committed to supporting their workforces, come rain or shine.

Find out more about the tailored support that BHSF can offer to your front and back of house teams.