Wagamama has warned that the growing supply chain crisis could cause food prices to rise as the chain struggles to hire chefs to fill vacancies at a fifth of its restaurants.

It comes as the hospitality industry faces a “perfect storm” of supply chain issues and worker shortages amid rising demand following the lifting of restrictions on coronaviruses.

Thomas Heier, Wagamama’s newly appointed chief executive, said he was struggling to fill vacant chef positions at around 30 of the chain’s 147 UK locations.

He said Brexit was having an impact on the number of European workers seeking employment in the UK, but also blamed stiff competition in the recruitment market as logistics companies resorted to increases salary and substantial cash bonuses to help fill truck and delivery driver shortages.

Mr Heier told the PA news agency: “We have seen a downsizing in the EU in particular, but the other thing we are seeing is increased competition from logistics and delivery companies who are struggling with an increased number of vacancies. ”

The fight to recruit comes as demand for workers in the hospitality industry has increased due to the boom in business following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions and an increase in stay for Britons, according to the boss of the company.

He said August, which is generally a quiet month, saw sales comparable to the trading spikes more commonly seen in the fall.

“This is a perfect storm of above-normal demand, with supply chain challenges in the mix and a shortage of personnel on the logistics side,” Heier said.

He said that while the Pan-Asian channel has not been in a position where it is desperately short of chefs or ingredients, it has felt the pressure just like many of its rivals.

He also warned that the pressures could lead to higher food prices as the supply chain crisis worsens.

“I don’t think we or anyone else are out of the water yet,” he said.

The truck driver shortage has seen big companies such as Tesco and Asda offer starting bonuses of £ 1,000 for new hires, while Amazon is also offering £ 1,000 ‘golden hollows’ to attract new employees warehouse in a context of growing demand for online shopping.

Soaring demand for workers saw 193,000 new job vacancies posted in the week of August 29 alone, according to the Confederation for Recruitment and Employment (REC).

Wagamama’s comments come as the group has launched a “pledge to plants” campaign to encourage diners to eat more vegan dishes and reduce their consumption of meat and dairy products to protect the environment.

He has confirmed that 50% of his menu will be meatless for the first time from October 6, as part of a previously announced pledge.

The company also laid out plans to expand its presence in the UK, with targets for 40 more locations over the next five years, including delivery kitchens.

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Source: www.independent.co.uk
This notice was published: 2021-09-05 23:15:00

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