Michelin star restaurant ends lunchtime service due to staff shortage

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 13: Chef De Rang Giacomo Monti lays a table in the restaurant at The Ritz London on May 13, 2021 in London, England. After closing its doors in the middle of December, The Ritz London is preparing to welcome guests on May 17, when coronavirus restrictions will be eased to allow hotels across the United Kingdom to re-open. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Restaurants are struggling across the board to bolster their workforce. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

A Michelin-starred restaurant in London has cancelled its lunch time sitting to "preserve" its depleted workforce amid a staff shortage.

David Moore, the founder of Pied à Terre told the BBC the situation was a "kick in the teeth" as he feared for overworked staff.

This is the latest example of the rout in hospitality staffing as Brexit and COVID-19 has drained workforces.

According to official employment data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the food services and accommodation sector recorded the biggest spike in vacancies, up 265.5%, of any industry in March as lockdown restrictions first began to ease.

Some companies have resorted to incentives to help tackle the shortage. Examples include bonuses or gift vouchers for staff who recommend friends for jobs.

The news comes following data that showed a shortage in the hospitality sector has driven up the average wage of pub and restaurant workers by as much as 14%.

According to data from Indeed Flex, an online marketplace for flexible workers, the hiring crisis is causing businesses in the industry to turn to temporary staff to keep up with demand.

Read more: UK staff shortages drive pub and restaurant wages up 14%

Weekend workers are seeing the biggest benefits, with those shifts typically paying 9% more than pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile weekday pay rates have risen by an average of 5% across the UK, far exceeding the 1.8% rise in the minimum wage between 2019 and 2021.

Pay increases vary around the country, with Greater Manchester and Cheshire experiencing the biggest pay hikes, Indeed Flex said. Hourly rates for temporary workers in those areas have risen by 11.15% for weekday hospitality staff, and by 13.87% for weekend workers compared to May 2019.

Watch: Hotels and restaurants struggle with staffing issues

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