That’s according to CGA’s Business Leaders Survey, which was sponsored by hospitality technology company Fourth and pooled responses from 726 operators across the restaurant, bar and casual dining industries.
The survey revealed that just under half (44%) will be recruiting to the same, or a greater extent, than in previous years.
Furthermore, they predict that their workforces will return to 79% of their previous scale by July 2021, and 90% by December 2021.
Fourth says that the figures have been buoyed by the Budget, announced last week by the Chancellor, which brought some positive news for the industry in the form of an extension to the VAT cut, business rates relief, a freeze on beer, spirits and wine duty for another year, and the extension of the furlough scheme to September.
The need for a recruitment drive is clearly evidenced by Fourth’s own data, aggregated from the analysis of over 700 companies across the restaurant, pub, bar and QSR sectors, which revealed that the hospitality workforce shrunk by 28% over the course of 2020.
As businesses embark to rapidly re-grow across their teams, maintaining engagement and reinforcing a positive culture will be a key challenge, with 71% of business leaders stating employee engagement will be a key focus, while a further 29% listed it as a moderate focus.
As operators look to drive efficiencies, the Business Leaders Survey also revealed that one in three business leaders stated that the use of technology will be fundamental in helping operations, with a further 39% suggesting it will be important.
The challenge most leaders predict turning to technology for is managing the cost of labour (49%), which will be partly driven by the uncertainty within the market, as 71% expect fragile consumer confidence to negatively impact business.
“There is cautious optimism returning to the industry, thanks to a clear timeline for reopening the industry and a new round of support measures announced in the Budget,” says Fourth’s managing director - EMEA Sebastien Sepierre.
“This shot in the arm will act as the starting gun for many businesses, as they seek to drive employment and establish systems ahead of reopening."
"Make no mistake, this is still a precarious time for operators, with fluctuating consumer demand and fierce competition all contributing to an uncertain and fast-changing operating climate."