Leading small pub group, EatDrinkSleep, has taken the decision to ‘dramatically limit’ its opening hours over the coming summer to give its staff a better work life balance as the sector emerges from lockdown.
The group, which runs pubs such as The Gurnard’s Head in West Cornwall and The Felin Fach Griffin, near Brecon, is hoping the move will help its team members led sustainable, balanced lives going forward, amid a ‘nationwide exit of skills’ on the back of the pandemic.
Both The Felin Fach Griffin and The Gurnard’s Head will open for lunch on only two days a week through the summer.
These are pubs which publicly pride themselves on being open “all day, every day” and would normally expect to be fully booked for each day.
Both will still open for dinner on seven days a week and will keep the bar open all day for passing walkers.
Edmund Inkin, one of two brothers who own the business says: “This is an existential threat for many operators in the sector. The narrative we hear is that some are simply unable to reopen. Our own take is that people will continue to be driven away from working in the industry if the work/life balance isn’t right. So, this pre-emptive step is one we want to take, even if the economics are unhelpful.”
He went on: “What this enables us to do is focus attention on our evening guests and not spread ourselves thinly. Although the jobs market may loosen up in a limited way as furlough unwinds and younger workers, particularly, find they need to earn money, we don’t expect this to be a challenge that goes away.
“Replacing the skills of hundreds of thousands of people doesn’t happen overnight. If the government is not going to change the rules of the game on immigration, the sector has no option but to get back to the basics of training and reskilling its whole workforce.”