One in five food orders fail to arrive at restaurants and hotels due to labor shortages

Catering orders fail to arrive due to labor shortages, Ian Wright, Managing Director of the Food & Drink Federation

Kate proctor

4 minutes to read

Exclusive: Industry bosses have warned hotels and restaurants are struggling to source catering supplies, with one in five orders apparently going unsuccessful.

Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said the hospitality industry is under tremendous pressure as the government talks today with energy industry figures on bills for spiral fuel, which in turn has led to shortages of used dietary CO2. manufacturing.

“20% of orders placed by hotel companies right now are not fulfilled – they don’t show up, they don’t arrive,” Wright told PoliticsHome.

“If this were true in supermarkets, there would be a national outcry because one in five shelves in supermarkets would be empty. Because it happens behind the menu, it goes unnoticed.

Data compiled by UK Hospitality showed food orders were not arriving for cafes, restaurants, hotels and catering businesses, meaning they will have to adjust in the fall.

The organization found that 94% of hotel companies are currently experiencing supply difficulties, with two-thirds having to reduce their product lines. The other two-thirds have seen their deliveries delayed, while 56% are hit by large price increases.

Reduced menus, the elimination of lunch breaks at restaurants and hotel restaurants open to guests only are some of the ways the hospitality industry is dealing with the disruption of their regular food orders, Wright said.

“Hotel companies are finding ways to get around this,” he continued.

“Menus are restricted or shorter. In many English seaside resorts this summer, hotels only served food to residential customers.

“There are a lot of ways to deal with a shortage, to serve fewer people in a shorter period of time, but it all has an impact on income.

“This is in part because the manufacturing industry did not manufacture the product due to labor shortages, and in some cases it is because the product was not delivered in due to a shortage of drivers. “

While the government sought to reassure the country was not going to run out of food, Wright suggested the product choice and price range buyers had in food and retail over the past four years. decades could disappear.

He also recently warned that the UK risked seeing the end of ‘just in time’ delivery in the food industry unless something was done to address labor shortages.

It is not clear whether the labor shortage affecting the hospitality industry is solely due to EU workers leaving the country due to Brexit, as there is a lack of clear data. Other factors could be that 500,000 people have become economically inactive since the lockdown and thousands of heavy truck drivers may have moved to online retail deliveries.

Another factor contributing to the shortage, according to Wright, is that EU university students were also more likely to take part-time work than other students coming from abroad.

He called the labor shortage “structural” and therefore felt that it might take some time to address it.

“These are long term trends. We believe that one in eight workers in the food supply chain, from farm to fork, is not there, or 500,000 people, ”he added.

“Some parts of the country have full employment, so people aren’t there to fill the jobs. You’re not going to find these people in a short time.

“It would be serious anytime but when so many companies are trying to recover [from the pandemic], this is really bad. We are not proceeding as usual.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “The UK has a very resilient food supply chain, which has coped well with unprecedented challenges.

“This year we have extended the pilot program for seasonal workers to 30,000 visas for workers to come to the UK for up to six months.

“We have introduced a package of measures to help tackle the shortage of heavy truck drivers that will streamline the licensing process and we continue to work with industry to understand labor demands. and supply issues. “

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