Energy only really came to the attention of the licensed trade in the Summer according to the Licensed Vintners Association’s Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe.
“Last January and February energy was not such a concern,” he said, “But strong wage inflation since reopening has been a growing concern.
“Thankfully the economy is in full employment and wages are reflecting the demand for staff,” he told Drinks Industry Ireland, “The part-time staff situation has improved but managers, chefs and senior bartenders are very difficult to source and very scarce. It’s going to be a problem in the medium term as there are just not enough of them in the country.
“We’re seeing businesses now investing in staff training because we had such a high turnover of staff through Covid.”
Training-up staff is certainly one of the answers, he agreed, stating that, “It’s worth investing in people who have an interest and aptitude for a long-term career in the licensed trade.”
Vintners Federation of Ireland Chief Executive Paul Clancy agrees, adding that, “Staffing will continue to be a major issue for our members. While energy costs have understandably grabbed all the headlines over the past month, finding, training and retaining staff will remain a big challenge.
“The VFI launched the Bar Manager Degree Apprenticeship with Griffith College in an attempt to create a defined career pathway for young bar staff and thankfully, a huge number of people have signed up.
“While the course is a positive development it will take a concerted effort from all stakeholders to create a perception among job seekers that hospitality is a viable career. This is all against the backdrop of increasing business costs and a changing hospitality landscape. With numerous venues scaling back their operations over the Winter period and an increasing requirement for seasonal and part-time workers, the staffing issue won’t get any easier.
“I would argue that hospitality is under such pressure that supports for employers similar to what was on offer during Covid must be looked at by Government.”