Restaurants declare an end to labour shortage


A South-West restaurant that was forced to temporarily close its doors over summer because of a shortage of labour is now laying off staff as the economic downturn bites.

It comes as the Restaurant and Catering Association declared the sector’s labour shortage over yesterday. But a customer shortage is on the rise in some sections of the market.

General manager of Busselton eatery Stilts, Craig Johnson, said a 50 per cent drop in revenue and a drastic drop in corporate bookings had forced him to make the functions manager redundant.

The redundancy would have seemed impossible only three months ago when the restaurant was forced to close its doors at a cost of $10,000 a night because of a lack of staff.

Mr Johnson said the restaurant was now getting about 15 unsolicited job applications a week, which was more than it got all of last year.

Many of the recent jobseekers had lost their positions working in kitchens at North-West mining sites.

But the dip in patronage and a reduction in the total spent by customers had made it impossible to increase or even maintain staff.

Mr Johnson said weekend patronage was still strong but customers tended to save money by not ordering an entree or dessert or by ordering a glass rather than a bottle of wine.

RCA vice-president Graham Bolton said the dip in revenue was common for upmarket eateries this year, though medium-range and fast-food restaurants were stable.

"The labour shortage is all but over for the hospitality sector," he said.


Comment on this post

R k ranamagar
May 01, 2012 11:27:35

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