Stretched hospitality firms go to extreme lengths to find staff amid fears they will not cope with an influx of summer tourists, The Telegraph reports

Sitting at a table inside Galvin La Chapelle, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the shadows of NatWest’s London headquarters, a man and a woman who run a rival restaurant enjoy a free glass of champagne from the owners and settle in for their meal.

But they are not there to experience the fine French dining, nor the Grade II-listed building. Instead, their mission is to slip the waiting staff their business cards and convince them to jump ship.

“Restaurants are absolutely desperate,” says Chris Galvin, who set up Galvin Restaurants with his brother. “Our staff are honest enough to come to us with a handful of business cards from respected restaurateurs. There are no staff. Some of our jobs have been available for six months and we haven’t had one person walk through the door. The cavalry is not coming over the hill.”

Shortages of workers is a reality facing Britain’s restaurants following the double-hit of Brexit and Covid.

Restaurant bosses say they have also caught competitors hanging around staff smoking areas in an attempt to convince employees on cigarette breaks to switch jobs.

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