Staff Wanted

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.

A Visit to… House of Bird

A visit to….. House of Bird

Summer is around and the corona-obstacles visiting places are disappearing. Time to visit a spot that had been on my wishlist for over a year: The House of Bird, the tasting room for Bird Brewery.

The House of Bird opened last year, but unfortunately the corona crisis hampered them in the beginning. The location is great: the entrance of the Diemerbos. A forest that was planted in the 1990s as a green space for the growing towns/neighborhoods of Diemen and the Bijlmer. It has attracted a lot of birdlife since and birdwatchers trek to this place to spot interesting birds.

You can also spot different birds here that come in glasses and are potable. Bird Brewery has been hard at work building their brand, a good example of how both smart marketing and good beer created a well-known brewery. You can find their beers with the colorful labels and the funny names in many bars and restaurants, but also in the supermarket. Unfortunately the names only make sense to Dutch speakers, but if you like dad jokes and puns you will like their names. Ok, for the Dutch speakers reading this here are a few: Datisanderekoekoek, Nog Eendje, Datsmaaktnaar Meerkoet.

Bird Brewery beers are never outlandish but all tasty and well made, this fits perfectly with the House of Bird. It attracts different people: from people heading into or out of the park, families with children and tourists who enjoy beer. Even if you did not come for the beer there are plenty of other nice things to drink and eat. When you sit down you can scan a QR code and the menu will pop up on your phone and you can order online and pay for it immediately. There are homemade ice teas and lemonade for example that are worth a try if you want something else than beer.

The food is equally interesting and diverse. There is everything from salads to burgers to pizzas. Our table was filled with fries, salmon flammkuchen, grilled vegetables and vegan blueberry pie. Something for everyone.

And all of this in or around a beautiful, mostly wooden structure that fits perfectly in the woods. The House of Bird and the land around it is worth a family trip. For the kids there is enough to do around the restaurants and for them there is enough to eat and drink.

You need to make somewhat of an effort to reach the Diemerbos, but it is worth the trip and spend a few hours in the House of Bird and the Diemerbos.

Links: Bird Brewery, House of Bird