Derbyshire gastropub owner says young people are key to ending hospitality staffing crisis

The owner of a Derbyshire gastropub has called for outreach work with young people and reduced business rates to help tackle the current hospitality staffing crisis.

By Tom Hardwick
Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 11:35 am
Chris Mapp, owner of the Tickled Trout, believes more young people need to be encouraged into hospitality.
Chris Mapp, owner of the Tickled Trout, believes more young people need to be encouraged into hospitality.

Chris Mapp, owner of the Tickled Trout in Barlow, said the industry was struggling with a lack of staff.

He has been working while dealing with the after-effects of Covid, and said even high-end venues were being hit hard.

“The industry is at a crisis point in terms of staffing. It’s been happening for a long time but it’s become critical.

“I’m struggling for chefs, it's an enormous pressure. I’ve had Covid last month and I’ve really not been very well, and I shouldn’t really be doing the hours I’m doing at the moment, but I have to because of the staff shortages.

“Even my mates in London and Cornwall with Michelin stars can’t get anybody in – there seems to be nobody anywhere.”

Despite the attraction of a four-day working week at the Tickled Trout, staffing problems have persisted.

Mr Mapp believes one of the best ways to help relieve the pressure on hospitality venues is to do more to encourage young people into the industry. For this to happen, he said attitudes surrounding jobs in hospitality needed to change.

“There’s a perception about the industry that needs to change on every level, from hours and pay, to what kind of jobs these are. We’re trying to do as much as possible to gain traction with youngsters and with people out of work, to get them into hospitality.

“It’s tough for youngsters working when other people are enjoying themselves, and I think social media pressure has a big part to play in this. But, on the other hand, the rewards are great in terms of development, confidence and social interaction- you don’t get that anywhere else.”

Mr Mapp is a patron for Springboard, a national charity that helps young people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds into the hospitality and tourism industries. Springboard provides education and training programmes, work placements and careers advice, and Mr Mapp goes into local schools to help educate kids.

He also urged the government to make pay rises more viable for smaller venues by cutting business rates and VAT. Mr Mapp said if this did not happen, the cost of wage increases for staff would hit the customer instead.

“If they made these cuts, we would be able to pay our staff more, and we would retain people in the industry. Staff deserve the money, and the minimum wage has gone up again, but if we don't pass these costs onto the customer, it would be disastrous.

“The cascade effect of hospitality struggling and shutting down hits the suppliers, and when it hits them, it hits the farmers- it’s an enormous domino effect, and likewise with breweries as well.

“Food and alcohol prices have gone through the roof in the past couple of months, and with the minimum wage rising, how can we survive without passing this onto the customer?”