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Christmas is Cancelled – Knock on Effect of Brexit on Christmas Party Season

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The festive season may be in jeopardy as the Brexit vote becomes the Christmas ‘Grinch’, with the hospitality industry already feeling the pinch. New research from the UK’s largest hospitality job board Caterer.com has revealed more than half (57%) of pub, bar, hotel and restaurant groups are already starting to feel the knock-on effects of the Brexit vote.

As the industry prepares for its busiest time of the year, party-goers across the nation are being asked to be patient while waiting for a top up on their Christmas fizz, with more than a third (35%) of hospitality businesses admitting they will be short staffed over the holiday period as Brexit takes its toll on experienced EU hospitality staff.

Once a key time for seasonal hires, over a quarter (26%) of businesses have been unable to fill Christmas roles due to a lack of available candidates and over one in five (22%) have lost valuable EU staff who have made the decision to leave the UK already following the vote. In addition, higher produce and supplier costs have led 11% of hospitality businesses to reluctantly pass these onto their customers.

Neil Pattison, Director at Caterer.com said:

“Whilst the UK may still be in limbo, the implications of the impending exit from the EU have already started to impact the hospitality industry, with increased supplier costs, experienced staff leaving, and a lack of available local talent to fill seasonal roles.

“With the hospitality industry equating for 7 per cent of UK jobs1 we currently rely heavily on staff from EU member states. As more staff make the decision to cut loose from the UK early before new visa restrictions are put in place, the Christmas season will be a time when Britons experience first-hand the growing impact of Brexit on the hospitality industry.”

11% of hospitality businesses say they fear they may have to charge more for Christmas parties to account for staff and increased supplier costs, and one in six (16%) have had to stop taking Christmas party bookings due to a lack of staff.

It’s not all bad news however, with the hospitality industry continuing to experience increased growth levels. Caterer.com has already seen an increased demand for local hospitality talent where job listings are up 28% this year.

Neil added:

“We are working closely with the industry to help attract and retain valuable talent in order to meet increased demand. For those who are considering a career move, particularly in the retail sector which has been hit with job losses due to high street closures and online retailers, the hospitality industry offers exciting career prospects.

“Many of the customer service skills acquired in other industries are easily transferrable to a role in hospitality, and employers offer on-the-job training that allows you to earn while you learn.”