Chesterfield pub owner says independent venues are losing staff to big chains

The owner of a popular Chesterfield pub has said independent venues are struggling to stop staff leaving to join big chains or work in warehouses.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 2:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 4:11 pm

Mark Aisthorpe runs the Bull’s Head in Holymoorside. He said staffing problems are hitting hospitality businesses hard, with independent venues in particular seeing an exodus of employees.

“The issues in the industry are getting worse. Chain companies are offering massively high wages, so lots of independent places like my pub are losing staff to them, as we can’t afford these wages.

“The industry used to get lots of support from younger staff, but these are not there anymore, as they are all working at warehouses.

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Mark Aisthorpe said independent venues are losing staff to warehouses and pub chains.

“Because we can’t find staff, this means we get complaints from customers about slower service.”

A series of changes have been made at the Bull’s Head to cope with these staffing shortages and to help keep existing employees satisfied. Mr Aisthorpe said he was forced to close on certain days of the week.

“I am closing the pub on Mondays and Tuesdays, and we are not opening for lunch on Wednesdays or Thursdays. This is because I want to give my staff the best possible work-life balance.”

However, Mr Aisthorpe said these measures would lead to some price increases, and he hoped that customers would be understanding.

The Bull's Head is offering staff a pay rise in a bid to keep them satisfied.

“This means prices for meals will go up. Customers might moan about a pie being £11 or £12, but they forget it’s all freshly made, using the best possible meat we can source, and that chef wages have gone through the roof.”

Mr Aisthorpe also warned that, unless there was more help to encourage young people into the industry, it could spell the end for independent hospitality venues.

“There will be no independent hospitality restaurants left soon unless there are more incentives for young people to get into the trade, and customers understand that it is a highly-skilled job.”

The Bull’s Head is not the only Chesterfield hospitality business to be impacted by these issues. The Galleon Steakhouse has offered its employees a four-day week in an effort to retain them, and the County Music Bar has also struggled to find staff.