A stroll through a shopping street or an alley full of restaurants. Windows that half of the time have a sign behind it. The tape that holds it on the glass has started to turn yellow. The notice on the sign: Help Wanted.
And this is just two streets in one city. Go anywhere in the country and it will look the same. Of the many problems bars and restaurants are facing, the search for personnel has been a problem ever since the end of corona. An abundance of staff during the covid shutdowns turned into a lack.
Many people working in the service industry were laid off during the covid times because there was simply no work for them. No one was allowed to dine in and even with takeout you could do with just one or two cooks in the kitchen. Some stayed behind to deliver some orders, most sought employment elsewhere. Many turned to the national health service. They needed people to man the phonelines when people called for a covid test, or to make an vaccination appointment. Or they could work at the vaccination centers helping people find their way.
And then the lockdown ended and people returned to the bars. The staff did not.
Owners had no choice but to step behind the bar again themselves or work even longer hours in the shop. A slight cold or a corona scare meant closing the bar or shop for a few days with no one to take over. Others opened later or closed earlier so to not get too overworked. Some even closed for one entire day a week. A day that could have been profitable became a day of no income.
And in some instances it has unfortunately led to permanent closings. And with that we are losing small parts of Dutch beer culture.
The public seems ok with that part. Going somewhere but then finding the doors are closed is not uncommon, but we learn to live with it. And if you are sitting somewhere it can mean that your food or drinks might turn up a little later than it otherwise would have.
Seeking new staff is hard. Pay gets better but still isn’t great. And restaurants and bars have started to resort to hiring non-Dutch speaking staff. Better someone than no one.
But staff is just one problem. With towering energy prices and increasing prices for everything because of inflation we still have a long way to go. We will see more businesses fold in the coming months. And that is a shame.
If you are looking for work in the beer industry, check out our list of available jobs.