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NSW South Coast cafes and restaurants close despite crowds due to lack of staff

Cafes and restaurants on the south coast of New South Wales are closing for the first normal tourist summer in years because they can’t hire enough staff.

Many hoped this season would provide relief after fires, floods, pandemics and wet weather had kept people at a distance over the past three summers.

But for some, a shortage of workers means they are not fully capitalizing on tourist revenues.

For Batemans Bay restaurant owner Ray Ramsey, it was the final straw.

“After seven years of success, we are putting our business up for sale because people have been known to come from Canberra in search of our food.

“It’s sad.”

Batemans Bay Business Chamber president David McLachlan said it was a difficult setback for many.

“It’s hard to get staff. It’s hard to keep staff,” he said.

“Like all local small businesses, it’s very difficult.”

Venue capacity is 50%

The Stingray’s Ocean Grill, owned and managed by Mr. Ramsey, seated approximately 300 people for two daily dining sessions.

But with a handful of staff, he was able to accommodate about 200 diners a day this summer.

Restaurant owner and chef Ray Ramsey had to run the kitchen alone because he couldn’t find staff.(ABC South East NSW: Holly Tregenza)

“We can’t open our doors and extend our hours because we don’t have staff to do the work,” he said.

The staff he managed to recruit were often teenagers who lacked experience and were unable to work late shifts.

“Previously, we had two sessions, one from 5pm to 7pm and the other from 7:30pm to 10pm.

“Right now, I’m doing just one session from 5pm to 8pm because the kids are so tired and I don’t want to stress them out.”

Cafe owner can’t even find ‘unskilled’ staff

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-12/south-coast-hospitality-venues-close-staff-shortages/101848912 NSW South Coast cafes and restaurants close despite crowds due to lack of staff

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