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Business / Hospitality staff shortages continue to pose problems

Mareel. Photo: Shetland News

THE MAREEL cafe is to continue with a reduced service as operator Shetland Arts struggles with staff shortages.

It says it is a Shetland-wide issue in the hospitality sector.

In recent weeks the cafe has occasionally been for available for sitting only, with some refreshments available in the foyer.

A post on social media confirmed that in the next few weeks tea and filter coffee will be available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the front desk, as well as cake – with seating available in the bar.

The situation will be the same on Thursday mornings before normal cafe service is resumed on Thursday evenings.

Normal cafe service is also due to take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The arts venue remains closed on Mondays.

Mareel pointed out that locally made sandwiches, wraps and salads are still available from the fridge in the foyer, alongside snacks, sweets and cold drinks.

The venue wished to thank its staff for their hard work, and customers for their patience.

“This is a difficult time for hospitality,” Mareel added in the post on social media.

“We are making these changes to continue to offer the best service in the circumstances, to protect our staff team and to support local businesses.”

Staffing difficulties in hospitality has been prevalent nationally since the Covid pandemic, during which many have left the industry.

It also comes after the summer holidays, where returning students often take up jobs whilst back in Shetland.

The Dowry’s Stuart Fox said his cafe/restaurant has probably coped better than most as it has “flexibility” within the business, but added that it is still a struggle.

“I think the main concern are there aren’t really any fully trained baristas front of house staff in the labour market at the moment,” he said.

Last month Fjara had to reduce its opening times as a result of a staff shortage.

Meanwhile the council also recently said recruitment had been a challenge at its Islesburgh Community Centre cafe, with the opening hours reduced during the first quarter of the financial year as a result.

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