Vale & West Chartered Accountants Blog

Staff shortages: increased wages to entice workers could mean higher prices for customers

Due to the ongoing staff shortages caused by the pandemic, UK restaurants have had to increase employee wages to entice chefs and waiters – which could mean higher prices for customers. 

According to recent data, four of the biggest UK restaurant chains have around 15 per cent of unfilled roles – equating to hundreds of positions. Italian Restaurant Prezzo is one of these chains.

Its owner Cain International’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Goldstein, revealed that one of Prezzo’s General Managers had to assist its restaurant’s chef due to the shortages.

“This is just not sustainable over the medium term,” Goldstein said.

“We are looking at a very large and important part of the economy, which is actually enjoying a relatively strong level of demand – and with the summer holidays coming to an end and university students who have been temping over the summer leaving the workforce, the situation could get worse.”

In September and October, Prezzo is introducing a new salary and incentives package for employees. But, Goldstein warns that if wage inflation increases between five and 10 per cent, this will cause prices to surge.

Additionally, an upmarket steakhouse chain – Hawksmoor – reveals they face employee shortages of around 10 per cent.

To resolve this issue, the restaurant offered £2,000 bonuses to employees who recommend workers to Hawksmoor.

The Co-Founder, Will Beckett, says he wants the Government to turn the immigration tap back on to fill labour gaps.

“You would have thought that a fairly good answer on the back of a global pandemic which has been unbelievably expensive is a thriving economy,” he said, but it was “being hamstrung by a lack of people at work”.

For advice on related matters, please contact our team today. 

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