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Is hospitality under more pressure than ever?

Is hospitality under more pressure than ever?

Written by

Abbie Dawson


June 6, 2022


Latest research

Shortages from bouncers to bottles & a lack of government support are impacting hospitality.

As the Platinum Jubilee fades from memory (a weekend that was expected to have delivered a £6bn-plus boost to high streets and hospitality businesses), and as some of us recover from being caught up in the ‘Flightmare’ caused by a chronic lack of aviation industry staff, shortages abound everywhere, and hospitality hasn’t escaped.

Of all the things to predict running low on, a lack of bouncers for the front doors of nightclubs is unlikely to be top of anyone’s list, but that’s the current state of play. As part of a wider staff shortage issue, a dearth of doorman is particularly pressing, with three-quarters of clubs, pubs and bars stating they were short of security staff, with some closing earlier or shutting entirely on Tuesdays or Wednesdays as well as Mondays, according to the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).1

Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UKHospitality, said hospitality businesses were still about 10% short of staff, double the level going into the pandemic, and were lacking 188,000 permanent staff and 25,000 temporary or seasonal workers.1

Those who like sipping a nice, iced bottle of beer might be sweating a bit this summer, as the UK is also apparently on the brink of a beer bottle shortage as a result of the supply chain and living cost crisis.

And these same rising living costs seem to be starting to impact customer behaviour, as a YouGov poll has found that over a third of people (39%) have reduced how much they spend on eating out over the last six months due to feeling the pinch.2

But as always, a little look around uncovers something positive. The group that owns Fridays, Hostmore Group, has announced that it plans to almost double its estate to around 200 restaurants in the medium term.3

Yet the industry is still looking to the government for help. Whilst every household in the UK got an energy bill discount of £400 recently, hospitality had hoped Chancellor Rishi Sunak would take the opportunity to outline further support for the sector, such as a temporary reduction in VAT, but no new measures were announced.4

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), said5:

But there is some positive action coming from the government, as it has made a commitment to make the provision of pavement licenses in England and Wales permanent under the Business and Planning Act. It is still a draft piece of legislation and subject to change, but it should come into law once the current Business and Planning Act ends in September.

The option for outdoor dining and drinking is a huge advantage for the sector in attracting and hosting more customers, so this is potentially a much-needed boost.


So what is a great hospitality customer experience?

What is a great hospitality customer experience? Well, it’s being on a first date and discovering you both have the same taste in music via the perfect playlist.

Yes, music is important, but it takes more than just music. We call it Music+.

For us at Startle, it is something customers tell friends about. It elevates a brand to distinction, with all sites harmonising in unison. Ultimately it improves your bottom line. For example, a pub quiz played entirely through your phone and based on identifying songs you hear as you drink and chat with friends.

For your own brand and business, imagine an atmosphere that’s built to run itself, optimising moment to moment the music, displays and lighting to make sure the experience is always at its best. Couple that with bespoke entertainment or competitive socialising that integrates seamlessly into your atmosphere and we’re suddenly talking about the pub of the future and we’re already building it.

It’s all possible with Startle.

Why not download for free (and with very little effort) our hospitality brochure? There is one for pubs and restaurants, as well as hotels and cafes.

And if you think we can help, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on +44 (0)203 397 7676 or drop us an email at


1The Guardian; ‘Lack of bouncers slams the doors on Britons’ big nights out’. 21st May 2022.

2BigHospitality; ‘A third of people cutting back on eating out and takeaways as cost of living soars’. 24th May 2022.

3BigHospitality; ‘Fridays owner looking to beef up its estate to almost 200 sites in the medium term’. 26th May 2022.

4Big Hospitality; ‘Sector pleads with Chancellor to ‘act now’ and alleviate financial pressures’. 26th May 2022.

5Metro; ‘Al fresco dining on pavements is officially here to stay post-lockdown’. 10th May 2022.

Is hospitality under more pressure than ever?

Abbie Dawson

Marketing Manager at Startle. I'm in charge of our marketing activity, making sure to spread the word of Startle to as many brands as possible. When I'm not working, you'll find me vinyl shopping to add to my collection or working out at the gym (usually making enemies with a punching bag).

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Hey, we've just met you and this is crazy. But here's our number +44 (0)203 397 7676. So, call us maybe?

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