Exmouth’s hospitality needs your help as we adapt to the new normal

Pubs were able to reopen from July 4 in England following an easing of coronavirus restrictions. Pic

Pubs were able to reopen from July 4 in England following an easing of coronavirus restrictions. Picture: Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s been over three weeks since social distancing measures have been lifted and we are all trying to navigate our way through this new normal.  

One industry that has been badly affected throughout and now faces new struggles, is hospitality.  

Exmouth is a fantastic destination for food and drink, from small, family run cafes and restaurants, to brilliant bars and even a brewery. So many of us have been excited to get back to them and enjoy wining and dining with our families, but unfortunately the newest hurdle for businesses is finding the staff to welcome everyone.  

I checked back in with one of Exmouth’s newest restaurants and Exmouth Business Awards finalist – Barbecue Thirteen in the Manor hotel. After their fantastic opening almost 10 weeks ago, they’ve become a foodie hotspot for both locals and visitors, based in the heart of one of Exmouth’s prominent hotels with seaside views from the hill.  

“It's been a great eight weeks; we have certainly made an impact and have had amazing feedback. I food has definitely been well received.”  said Darren, chef & owner. 

“The pandemic has also made a massive impact, especially on staffing. We've not noticed as much with customer numbers as we are filling the restaurant most evenings. However, we have had to keep numbers in the dining room down, not due to social distancing but because we have such a small team. We have had ongoing chef and front of house positions available since we opened. There are 400 chef positions available across Exeter and Exmouth alone, the rest of the country is scary.”  

Having spoken to other venues, no one seems to be able to pinpoint exactly why this shortage is happening – perhaps due to renewed priorities as a result of lockdown or different expectations/ people moving away. But so many of the companies in Exmouth offer fantastic opportunities for all forms of staff – from those looking for a casual job, to those looking for a career. Darren and many others speak so highly of the team they do have. 

“I'm very lucky with the team I have, but it's still small and restricts me from putting out an extensive bar menu alongside my a la carte which we are restricting numbers to be able to offer quality over quantity. If it continues, we would have to shut a couple of days a week also to give my team and myself an equal work / life balance.... Or close as possible in the current climate. 

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I love Exmouth, we are here to stay, I have faith the industry will rise again.” 

What’s clear in the industry, especially in Exmouth, is the resilience and creativity of hospitality.  

So now, more than ever, eating local, drinking local and supporting local will help these fantastic venues emerge stronger from this situation, and if you’re considering a role in hospitality, do reach out to the variety of businesses we have in the town to find out more.  

If you run an eatery in Exmouth and are facing a similar hurdle, then get in touch– the Exmouth Chamber of Commerce is here to support all businesses in the town and create conversations and connections that can help business owners/ managers feel supported.  

Email chair@exmouthchamber.co.uk to tell your story.  

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