Brighton and Hove restaurants set to reopen Brighton News

With the government’s roadmap out of lockdown allowing restaurants to reopen indoors on Monday, Nick Mosley speaks to restaurant owners about the challenges and opportunities at this critical time for the industry.

The hospitality industry has lost £ 68 billion in sales and 600,000 jobs since the Covid strike, according to the national trade body UKHospitality, and 12,000 businesses have gone bankrupt.

Many hotel companies have benefited from government grants and loans, as well as the opportunity to lay off staff. Light businesses have adapted to include take-out and home delivery, and the reopening of outdoor restaurants has been warmly welcomed by most.

However, none of this made up for their inability to function normally for over a year.

Kenny tutt

Kenny tutt

A major challenge is to reconstitute the kitchen teams and reception staff. Recruiting has always been one of the biggest headaches, but no one has ever envisioned the industry facing the challenge of Covid, made worse by a shift in the workforce ecosystem brought on by Brexit.

There has been an exodus of workers from the industry, who have not been helped by many EU workers returning to their home countries and unable or unwilling to return to the UK . On the other hand, out of financial necessity, a significant number of UK hotel workers have taken to new careers offering more stable wages and – in some cases – can be less stressful than working in a welcoming environment. at high pressure.

It is also a fact that many young Britons simply view hospitality and associated jobs as a temporary role rather than a long-term career option.

Neil Mannifield runs the Market Restaurant and Bar in Western Road, Hove, and is one of the city’s oldest restaurateurs.

“With the natural waste in a high turnover industry like ours, we have lost a few employees,” he said.

“With Brexit now a reality, we are already struggling to recruit new employees with any experience.

“Put simply, no newcomer to Brighton seems to want to work in restaurants.”

Masterchef: The winner of the professionals, chef-owner Steven Edwards of Etch in Church Road, Hove, has been preparing for months for the indoor dining room to reopen.

“We’re literally starting from scratch,” Steve said. “Being closed for five months means we don’t have a phased start, so we had to put the team to work the week before May 17th to be ready to meet demand.”

Although the lights are always off in many restaurants and pubs – and in some cases may never be back on – there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, with a slew of new openings led by the launch of Shelter Hall on Brighton seafront.

Olivia Reid at Shelter Hall

Olivia Reid at Shelter Hall

Its Food Director Olivia Reid said: “As a new opening with a completely different concept and kitchen partners, Shelter Hall faced the normal challenges of opening. In some ways, the Covid outdoor dining limits have been a blessing and allowed us to test our operations and systems before they fully open.

“Recruitment is a huge problem nationwide, due to a combination of leave and Brexit.

“Shelter Hall is constantly recruiting to ensure we have a strong developing team, focusing on training and creating opportunities for the next cohort of hospitality stars, providing a new and rewarding environment for them to learn. and appreciate.

“Forty-three percent of our outdoor customers have reserved indoor tables for the next few months. This is extremely reassuring, but we all need to be prepared for a new combination of dining experience expectations, customers will continue to expect choice and we must offer it to them.

Joining the list of the city’s new restaurants, Raz Helalat – owner of The Salt Room and The Coal Shed restaurants in Brighton – is launching his new concept, Burnt Orange, on Middle Street next month.

Raz has over a decade of experience in the city’s food scene and says he saw a gap in the market for a new style of informal dining and drinking.

He said: “I have had countless conversations with friends and loyal customers about the need for a totally new space. Something different, not quite a restaurant, not quite a bar but a place that bridges the gap with great music, of course. So after the 18 months we’ve all been through, this was the perfect time to open our doors.

Outside Brighton, Sussex restaurateurs are also finding new growth opportunities in the face of adversity. Chef Kenny Tutt who launched Pitch in Worthing following his Masterchef: The Professionals victory in 2018, recently opened the Ox-Block Kitchen at Shelter Hall and will launch Bayside Social, a new beachfront coffee shop on the waterfront. Worthing Sea.

He said, “I will continue to work with more and more local suppliers and look forward to hosting a welcoming and warm space for everyone to enjoy.”

In Lewes, Chef Richard Falk and Stephen Yeomans, Business Partners, are opening their new Fork restaurant on Station Street on June 1. Richard previously worked at Ledbury in Notting Hill and The Dairy in Clapham.

He said: “Lewes is a fiercely independent little town. There was a definite opportunity for an independent, independently run neighborhood restaurant.

“I would say the present is the time to open up. After more than a year of home cooking, customer expectations will be high, and our customers’ desire to reconnect in person is greater than ever. As an accessible neighborhood restaurant, we can meet many of these criteria.

Despite the reassuring news of new openings, many established hotel businesses of all shapes and sizes will either not reopen or struggle during the off-peak winter period – for many reasons, including staffing, finances, and adaptability. The reboot of an entire industry has highlighted important structural issues related to recruiting and retaining staff, and whether hospitality employment at all levels can be considered as options for the future. valuable careers – and valued.

Local and national government policy on hospitality and food and drink at large will need to be updated and adapted to the challenges ahead.

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This notice was published: 2021-05-16 05:17:00