Foodservice sector hit by labour shortages: Henderson NI MD Martin Agnew
Henderson Group says the retail side of its business is now ahead of where it was in 2019, despite the pandemic – but the foodservice side faces challenges.
In an interview for the forthcoming Ireland’s Forecourt & Convenience Retailer yearbook, Henderson NI MD Martin Agnew outlined how business has held up through a tough 2021.
Since the gradual reopening of the hospitality sector, he says, the retail end of the business is now ahead of where it was in 2019.
However the foodservice side, particularly in the Republic of Ireland, has struggled in an environment of hospitality restrictions and labour shortages.
“We’re well up on the retail business on 2019, and have just about found ourselves in front in Northern Ireland when it comes to foodservice, but not in the Republic where there have been more restrictions in place for longer,” Mr Agnew said.
“It’s been very stop-start and it has been hard for the sector to retain people – so many people left when the sector closed down and got jobs elsewhere. It’s been hard to attract people back in – there are still staff shortages and chef shortages.
“The food service business is starting to come back, though. 2022 will be different for hospitality purely from a consumer behaviour point of view – hopefully where staycations decrease, overseas tourism will grow again.”
Watch out for the full interview, appearing in the forthcoming Ireland’s Forecourt & Convenience Retailer yearbook.