Staff shortages and financial difficulties: Welsh hospitality still struggling despite reopening

Watch the video report by ITV Work and Economy Correspondent Carole Green.

It has been a roller coaster 18 months for hospitality businesses in Wales but today is all about celebrating the survivors and the successes.

The pandemic has meant hotels, restaurants, cafes and pubs have been hit by repeated lockdowns and rule changes aimed to keep us all safe. 

They have had to adapt and pivot their operations time and time again. Most with the help of furlough and financial support from both Westminster and the Welsh Government are now beginning to bounce back, many in new ways and with a refreshed look.

This weekend, hospitality is keen to reconnect with customers and build confidence with those who have got out of the habit of visiting their favourite places.

National Hospitality Day is all about emphasising how restaurants, cafes and pubs not only provide income but are an important part of the social fabric of our communities.

The campaign aims to showcase the sector which is so important to Wales. It employs more people than the car industry and the aerospace sector combined but those in it say it is often over looked or not taken seriously.

Pre pandemic, hospitality supported 140,000 jobs. However, many chefs and front of house have left the industry for good - fed up with long hours, and in many cases low pay and insecurity.

Coupled with Brexit and the departure of thousands of EU staff, it has left vacancies across the sector. Many businesses have been forced to reduce their hours and their services due to staff shortages. 

Demand though has been strong, boosted by 'staycations' and people ready to return to their favourite places. However, businesses say their growth is being held back by the lack of staff, which is hitting their capacity.

There are other headwinds too including difficulties sourcing regular supplies due to the acute shortage of lorry drivers. Add to the that, rising food costs, bigger wage bills to recruit and retain talent and an increases in Employer National Insurance contributions.

Hospitality is not out of the woods yet.

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