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Staffing crisis and supply chain issues keeping hospitality professionals awake at night ahead of most critical Christmas ever

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Feeling the Covid and Brexit impact, one in five hospitality businesses predict a stressful and challenging Christmas period.

As the festive season edges ever closer, the next six weeks have never been more important to the hospitality sector as it looks to maximise on the most business-critical Christmas ever. Ordamo, leading digital order and pay technology provider, has surveyed the sector to gauge the impact of the sizeable challenges currently facing the industry.

In the run up to Christmas almost a quarter of people working in hospitality (23 per cent of respondents) said that they are worried about what the festive season holds, with one in every 33 (3 per cent) saying it’s causing them to lose sleep. The study by Ordamo, champion of technology as facilitator of more efficient customer service, also found that over a third (39.2 per cent) are more optimistic and excited for what’s set to be the busiest business period for the sector for almost two years.

One in every 20 (4.8 per cent) hospitality industry professionals are anticipating a loss-making Christmas, with almost a quarter (22.8 per cent) saying they believe they’ll see takings of less than previous festive seasons. Meanwhile, one in three (36.5 per cent) think they’ll see similar to usual levels of business and just over a third (35.5 per cent) are predicting a better than usual festive period this year.

Rupert Gutteridge, Ordamo CEO, said: “The hospitality sector has taken such a huge battering over the past 20 months, we felt it important to reach out a helpful hand. It’s no surprise that staffing is currently causing the most worry and in speaking to so many of our clients and contacts, it is clear what an impact it is having on people’s stress levels.

“Hospitality is a people business after all and we feel a responsibility, as a team with such close ties to the sector, to give the professionals in this space a voice. This ensures that the real issues that teams are facing are used to develop the essential technology solutions to ensure smooth running of day-to-day business as well as enabling growth.”

Jane Pendlebury, HOSPA CEO, added: “The forthcoming festive season is much anticipated by the hospitality industry having effectively missed out on it last year. However, staffing issues are having a major impact. Industries across the country are struggling to recruit the necessary numbers and hospitality is one of the foremost amongst those.

“The knock-on effect of being understaffed are enormous, with disappointed guests leading to reputational issues, while overstretched staff struggling to hold the fort can lead to burnout, running the risk of yet more people leaving the industry. We’re still very much hopeful of a successful Christmas period but with many pressures bearing down on the industry – not to mention the supply chain issues – it’s certainly a nervous time.”

Lee Skinner, CEO at award-winning, interactive Asian fusion restaurant, Inamo, said: “Everyone knows it’s been such a tough time for the hospitality sector over the past couple of years. At Inamo we’ve been in the business of introducing and harnessing technology to improve guest experience and profitability since our inception, and never has that concept been more valuable for our sector as a whole. Our technology systems have been fundamental in supporting our positive results. This platform enables us to dynamically alter menus and pricing to smooth over supply chain issues and changing market conditions, resulting in less stress for our team, especially ahead of what can already be a chaotic period.”

In other findings, one in nine (11.7 per cent) cite Brexit as having the biggest impact on business recently, with over three quarters (76.9 per cent) naming Covid as having had the most significant impact. When it comes to most common areas of business concern for those in hospitality, staffing, the supply chain and customer service are the three most cited (by 61.2 percent, 47.2 per cent and 18.6 per cent of respondents respectively).

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