Company that took over every Brains pub in Wales struggling to find workers
A pub group that took over every Brains pub in Wales has called for a relaxation of visa restrictions for hospitality staff.
The chief executive of Marston’s, which took over operations at 156 pubs previously run by the Welsh brewer Brains in December of last year, said that the sector was now facing severe labour shortages.
Almost one in ten of its 187 pubs were understaffed and an easing of visa rules for kitchen staff in particular “would be very welcome”, Andrew Andrea said.
The industry has been hit by the departure of European workers after Brexit, and staff finding new work while hospitality was closed during the pandemic.
In August, Marston’s had to close 30 pubs and limit trading at 50 others. Across the UK, 1,000 hospitality sites have closed since July because of supply chain and staffing challenges, according to the industry data tracker CGA.
The pubs the company took over in Wales will continue to operate under the Brains brand and will still sell the Welsh brewer’s beer.
That sale was in itself due to the pandemic putting huge pressure on hospitality in Wales, after the Welsh Government announced new rules on not selling alcohol and closing at 6pm at the height of the winter Covid surge.
In a statement made at the time, the companies said the deal was needed “to address Brains’ immediate funding requirements”.
“This agreement marks the formation of a lasting strategic relationship with Marston’s which secures the future of Brains’ pubs and 1,300 of our employees within them,” said chairman John Rhys.
“We know and trust Marston’s to be excellent custodians of our pubs and, whilst this is not a decision we have taken lightly, we are confident that both our pubs – and our pubs teams – will thrive under their stewardship.
“Furthermore, this transaction enables Brains to recapitalise its balance sheet and continue its long heritage as an independent entity, preserving this great Welsh business for generations to come.”