As the furlough scheme ends this weekend and lockdown restrictions are being extended across the country, the harsh reality is that having being closed for so many months and trying to open under reduced capacity, much of the hospitality sector is facing tough financial decisions.
The new Job Support Scheme requires bars and restaurants to provide staff with 20% of their normal working hours in order to qualify for support and for many establishments, they simply do not have the resources to survive whilst under the new trading restrictions, reduced trading hours, as well as reduced footfall.
For WEST, current restrictions mean the loss of all alcohol sales, coupled with the reduction on food sales and events, this equates to a loss of 75% of the company’s normal revenue. Income has dropped dramatically whilst fixed running costs remain much the same, and as a result, we have been left with no option but to make redundancies.
Staff with less than two years’ service have been selected for redundancy, reducing our kitchen team by two and our Front of House team by three, as we are desperately trying to ensure that our remaining staff will have enough hours to be eligible for the Job Support Scheme.
To say that we are upset to have to let any of our staff go is an understatement. We have been forced to face the harsh reality that cutting staff, after having reduced all other possible overheads, including all senior managers taken salary cuts, this will be our only chance to survive as a business and to keep our doors open under Tier 3 or Tier 2 restrictions.
News bulletins on Caterer.Com has reported that hospitality job recruitment sites have seen an astronomical rise in job applications and that the closure of the furlough support scheme this weekend threatens a cliff edge of job losses which has triggered a surge in job-seeking.
We are pleading for the government to re-consider the detail of the Job Support Scheme and the packages available to businesses to help keep their doors open. We need to make sure hospitality sector Is not permanently decimated by this global pandemic.