Before the terms were agreed upon, the UK hospitality industry anticipated problems post-Brexit.

What the industry could not have anticipated were the exaggerated problems that Covid also created. With two extreme influences at one time, the industry has had to endure a difficult year and half, so what has changed and what impact – short and long term – is Brexit having on hospitality businesses?

What has changed?

As an EU member state, the UK had been accepting migrant workers from other member countries, a situation that was replicated across others. Many foreign workers found employment within UK hospitality venues including pubs, restaurants and cafés for example. Prior to Brexit, the industry as a whole was responsible for employing more than 400,000 migrant workers.

Since Brexit, the free movement rule no longer applies to migrant workers or UK businesses. For the employer, finding overseas staff has become more difficult, and for the migrant worker, coming to the UK is far less attractive than it first was.

Short Term Impact

The short-term impact of Brexit on the hospitality market meant the loss of a great number of employees due to changes in the law. The Guardian recently quoted one of the UK’s biggest listed pub groups – Mitchells and Butlers – as having lost 9,000 of its 39,000 staff due to Brexit, almost a quarter of its workforce.

This sort of loss can be repeatedly seen across pub and restaurant chains throughout the country. Add Covid-19 and the devastating effect of lockdowns on hospitality – which has undoubtedly taken the biggest hit of all UK industries – and the result is this market sector facing immediate short-term problems that need a long-term approach to repair. 

Long Term Outlook

Before we move on it is important to remember that hospitality, despite being a massive industry, has always struggled with staff shortage. It has typically been looked down on as a career choice, but as Kellie Rixon, Chair of the Institute of Hospitality, explains in an interview with this is an attitude that is changing. 

The plight of the industry following Brexit and Covid-19 has put the hospitality sector under commercial and political scrutiny. While the past year and a half has certainly been turbulent, perhaps the forced closures and the wide press coverage has prompted the public to realise just how valuable the industry is. 

As society continues to see the industry in a new light, it is clear that reform and innovation is needed. Stint’s solution to hospitality staffing is also perfectly positioned to solve the staffing crisis to which Brexit contributed. With hundreds of businesses struggling to attract and recruit the right candidates, it’s time for the industry to consider a new way of operating. What would that look like? Click here to find out more.

It has been hard to watch so many of the businesses we love struggle over the last year, and at Stint we’re determined to help the industry get back on its feet again. With the current issues and the longer-term shifts that have happened over the past couple of years, it is time for the industry to embrace change. By integrating with Stint and operating in a new, better way, businesses can relieve the pressure caused by rent debt, the staffing crisis, and other challenges facing the industry.