Founder David Moore will also be limiting his Michelin-starred Fitzrovia restaurant’s dinner service to 45 guests to ensure the current kitchen team can cope.
Moore's ‘difficult decision’ to temporarily drop his restaurants three lunch services follows the loss of three chefs to a new opening earlier this week.
“From this Saturday (26 June) we will not be doing any lunches for at least four weeks. We’ve just been calling the many customers we have booked in to let them know,” he says.
Earlier this month, two Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche also announced it would open for dinner-only amidst an unprecedented staffing shortage.
The staffing crisis is being felt across the hospitality industry, with McDonald's CEO Paul Pomroy recently announcing that McDonald's was on the hunt for 20,000 new recruits.
“It’s far from ideal but there’s nothing we can do about it," continues Moore. "Our current position is that we need to protect the staff that remain and not try and flog them to death.
"It’s a massive blow financially but it's better to keep a happy and healthy team. We won’t be profitable for the next four weeks, but we will sustain the business and our reputation."
Dropping lunch service will see the restaurant run by the same core team five shifts a week, with Moore and office staff helping out in the kitchen where they can.
Front of house is less of an issue because there is still some availability of young, inexperienced staff who can be trained up within a few weeks.
Moore says he is not at all confident Pied à Terre will be able to recruit the three to four chefs it needs to reopen for lunch.
“We have got some people pencilled in flowing trials. We’ll just have to wait and see if they turn up. One of the biggest issues with a situation like this is that people are less likely to want to work in kitchens that are clearly understaffed.”
Moore puts the industry’s staffing problems largely down to Brexit and the pandemic. “The young people that would have wanted to come to London to get some life experience have not been made to feel welcome. We need to make it easy for young Europeans to work here for two to three years. These aren't people getting paid over £30,000 a year that you can sponsor, but they're essential and we need them back."
Pied à Terre's announcement follows recent data from UKHospitality that suggests a current vacancy rate across the sector of 9%; implying a shortage of 188,000 workers.
The trade body has called for the introduction of an 'Australian-style visa scheme' to enable overseas workers who do not meet the threshold demanded by the new point-based immigration system to come to the UK.