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.

Lockdown Part 3: a bar owner’s response

The bars and restaurants have been closed now for about two weeks. It was another blow for an industry that wasn’t doing too well since the reopening earlier this year. Some anger has been aimed towards the government for closing these places, but not shops or schools. On Facebook on Saturday I read remarks about the closed bars but very crowded streets. This is not helping. The Dutch people still think their right to move about is more important than someone else’s right to live and breathe. The hospitals are getting full and we started moving people to Germany already.

Last week I read a post from Jeroen Carol-Visser. Former chairmain of PINT (our version of Camra I guess) and now owner of the wonderful bar De Goudse Eend in Gouda. His post was exactly who I, and many others with me, think of the whole situation. With his permission I translated it for you to read:

“Fine. Again we are forced to close closure.

The bar and restaurant industry is once again a victim of stricter measures.
As an entrepreneur again I have to look for a way to survive.
And why?
Because people just don’t want to listen.

I would like to thank you very much for that.
Thanks for not listening to the five feet (1.5 meter) rule.
Thanks for not meeting in groups.
Thanks for not having a party at home,
Thanks for the “yes we 12 are all part of the same household”.
Thanks for the “oh I’ll grab a chair, so you can still get in between”

Thank you, you who think that rules do not apply to you.

Rules have always been drawn up. And YOU only had one job. STICK TO THE RULES.

Was it so difficult to keep that 1.5 meter distance for a while?

Or YOU colleagues in hospitality, did you really have to sit those 8 guys together at a table on that larger terrace? You understand that that was not a household, don’t you?

And do you own that large business with a mega terrace extension? Wasn’t that good enough? Why were guests allowed to sit shoulder to shoulder with you?

Using and implementing the rules is not difficult. All you need is discipline. Just do it.

For now we are closed again. We have to. Sitting in a corner and crying isn’t going to help my business.

Soon, someday, we may open again. And may I hereby make an appeal to you? Just stick to the rules. Not for me, not for you, but for society.

If together we can give the virus such calm waters that it is not gone but let it be infected now and then, we can continue living. Everything van run again and we can have a society where we learn to live with a deadly virus.

If we all just keep paying attention we can do this.


This is a sentiment shared by me and others. The freedoms we enjoyed and have taken for granted have brought this country a lot. Now people don’t want to give it up. A form of selfishness that at this stage is not helping us beat this virus.

And oh, if you are in Gouda getting cheese and stroopwafels, make an effort to visit Jeroen’s bar. Whenever I am in the position to do so again you will find me there.

So stay home if you don’t have to and follow the rules!