Staff shortages a 'serious issue' Midhurst publicans say

Two Midhurst landlords have told of a wide-spread shortage of hospitality staff as they welcome customers back after lockdown.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 2:52 pm

Changing rules, Covid guideline pressures and job uncertainty have all been blamed for staff shortages in the hospitality industry, with one Midhurst landlord describing it as a ‘serious issue’ and another calling it ‘horrendous’.

Todd White, general manager of The Wheatsheaf in Midhurst, said: “It has just been so difficult.

“We have been trying for six weeks, calling and emailing people but they just don’t get back to you. It’s horrendous.

Todd White, general manager at The Wheatsheaf

“It has just been so difficult. We have been trying for six weeks, calling and emailing people but they just don’t get back to you. It’s horrendous.

“There are a lot of jobs out there but every single pub I have spoken to is struggling.”

Todd is working with five members of front-of-house staff and two to three people in the kitchen, but is still looking for more to fill roles.

“I am very lucky with the staff I have got and they are worth two people in themselves, but it’s nice to have cover. They’ve been absolutely fantastic and have gone above and beyond.”

Todd added that while staffing pressures have been an issue for the pub, he and his team have enjoyed seeing customers again: “We have started getting really busy now which is great and things are still positive.”

Owner of the Bricklayers Arms, Alan Lambert said: “We had a couple of members of staff that went on furlough but not everyone because some were only part time.

“But some couldn’t go on with it and looked for work elsewhere.

“It’s a serious issue and it is UK-wide. You can’t blame them. If we have another lockdown they are out on their own again.”

The family-run pub currently only has three members of staff: Alan, his partner and his mother-in-law.

He added: “It’s been hard and we have been working twice as hard at the moment.”

Alan said a lack of staff is just one of many challenges faced by pub landlords.

He added: “The restrictions are really not making things any easier but we understand that they should be followed.

“Pubs have been really kicked in the teeth during this and it will be a long time before a lot of them get back on their feet.

“I genuinely believe they are afraid, especially with the Indian variant. People are just afraid and they have still got families to feed and bills to be paid. It’s sad.”