Almost half of Hospitality Workers remain on furlough, as the scheme comes to an end this month

The latest figures from Fourth, the leading global software provider for the hospitality sector, and Wireless Social, a leading Wi-Fi solutions provider, have revealed the impact COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on jobs and footfall.

The latest joint study indicates that many hospitality workers’ jobs hang in the balance, and that nationwide footfall is falling again, despite the momentum generated by August’s Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) scheme. The study reveal

  • There has been an 18% drop in overall staff headcount compared to September last year
  • This equates to 500,000 people (or almost 1 in 5) losing their job in the sector since January
  • 43% of the workforce remains on furlough
  • UK footfall dropped to 46% below the pre-COVID average on the weekend of 3rd October – a 4 percentage point decrease compared to the previous weekend

Fourth’s data, which has been aggregated from analysis of over 700 companies across the restaurant, pub, bar and QSR sectors, reveals that the pub sector workforce was 15% lower in September, compared to the previous year. Quick service restaurants saw a 16% drop, and restaurants fell further, with a 19% drop. The hotel sector had the greatest fall in headcount compared to September last year, with a 20% reduction.

The total number of hours worked across the sector in September was 20,283,957, which is in line with the hours recorded in August – but 48% down when compared to September last year. The pub sector saw an 8% reduction in hours worked compared to August, while restaurant hours were down by 2%. The QSR and hotel sectors recorded higher levels of activity compared to August, increasing by 3% and 6% respectively.

Wireless Social’s footfall data indicates there was a drop-off in traffic over the course of September, with the national average tracking at 39% below the pre-COVID level on Saturday 5th September, compared to 42% below the average on Saturday 26th September. The weekend of 3rd October registered the lowest figures since early August, coming in at 46% below average levels.

The data also provides insight into regions that have been placed under local lockdowns and the impact that this has had on hospitality footfall. Visitor traffic in Liverpool dropped to 60% below the pre-COVID average on Saturday 3rd October, the lowest footfall has been since the hospitality sector began reopening in July. This is mirrored by Manchester where traffic was 55% below the average over the same weekend.

Sebastien Sepierre, Managing Director – EMEA, Fourth, said: “September has been incredibly tough for hospitality businesses, as the sector has been hit by further challenging restrictions that have impacted trading and consumer confidence. The fact that nearly half of the workforce remain on furlough, with the closure of the scheme on 31st October is concerning.

“However, this is an extremely innovative and resilient sector, and it’s vital that operators continue to think and act dynamically, particularly around the way they schedule labour to ensure they have the right number of team members in place, to deliver guests the experience they expect.”

Julian Ross, CEO of Wireless Social, said: “The fact that nationwide footfall remained consistent throughout September was an encouraging sign for our industry, however the latest round of Government restrictions and the threat of more to come could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for some businesses. Our footfall data reveals the impact that these restrictions, with seemingly little scientific evidence to justify them, have had on visitor traffic particularly at a time when businesses require as much support as possible.”

The information captured here comes from the second in a series of joint webinars from Fourth and Wireless Social, which explores the data that can help the hospitality industry navigate through the challenges posed by the current climate.

About Fourth
Fourth provides end-to-end, best-in-class technology and services for the restaurant and hospitality industries. Their procurement, inventory, and workforce management solutions, coupled with the industry’s most complete data and analytics suite, give operators the actionable insights they need to control costs, scale profitability, improve employee engagement, and maintain compliance. Since its merger with US-based HotSchedules, Fourth serves more than 7,000 customers across 120,000 locations globally.

Fourth works with multi-national companies in the hospitality industry, including Fullers, Gaucho, Hilton, Krispy Crème, Leon, Café Nero, Soho House, Subway, Strada, Wagamama and Stonegate.

For more information, please visit www.fourth.com

About Wireless Social
Wireless Social is a leading provider of guest Wi-Fi, analytics and marketing solutions to the hospitality sector. Its Wi-Fi service has been used by over 25 million people across the globe and this number is growing rapidly by 1 million new users per month. Having worked with some of the most recognised brands including Heineken, Azzurri Group and TGI Fridays, Wireless Social specialise in providing operators with actionable insight collected from Wi-Fi social log ins. This enables brands to track guest behaviour allowing for a more effective and targeted marketing approach.

Alongside its Wi-Fi service, the company has recently launched its Hedgehog product which gives drinks brands the ability to send targeted real-time drinks vouchers to guests when they log into the Wi-Fi within partnered venues, to then be redeemed at the till. In July 2020, the Track & Trace product was launched, which is seamlessly linked to the log Wi-Fi log in journey to help support the government’s Test and Trace programme.

Wireless Social’s national footfall tracker collates data from guests when they actively sign into a venue’s Wi-Fi Access Point. It also detects and tracks exterior footfall, up to a 10-meter radius from the venue, as the Access Point scans for Wi-Fi enabled devices to connect to.

For more information, please visit https://www.wireless-social.com