Hospitality Sector Calls For Customers to be Kind to Staff

06 October, 2021

For many people, things seem to be moving back towards “normal”, although, for others, it is as challenging as ever, particularly those in customer-facing roles. Hospitality and retail face a nationwide staffing crisis amongst other shortages, including stock, creating stressful environments for both employees and customers.

The hospitality sector in the UK has had the highest level of job vacancies since records began. This is due to many factors, including Covid and Brexit, which have escalated the problem, with industry bodies reporting that one in five workers have left hospitality during the pandemic.

These shortages have caused stress levels to rise for employees and customers, leading to an increase in abuse of staff in the sector. So much so that industry giants such as Costa have put signs in their doorways stating their zero-tolerance to “customers showing rude or aggressive behaviour towards Costa team members or other customers”.

Hospitality has taken further steps to mitigate the abuse of staff; for example, the Radisson RED hotel in Scotland has launched a Be Kind To Hospitality campaign, which encourages the public to treat staff in bars, restaurants and hotels with respect and kindness.

Graham Chalmers of Radisson RED said: “The entire hospitality industry is facing a crippling crisis right now – in fact, more than one.

“The staff shortage is becoming impossible to navigate, it is as simple as that. So many businesses are suffering badly at the hands of the so-called pingdemic, with numerous staff isolating each week.

“On top of that, there is the seemingly forgotten issue of Brexit, with so many seasonal workers or students simply not here and looking for work.

“Brexit also has had a huge impact on deliveries and stock – it’s clear to see. People everywhere are struggling to get hold of essential products.

“And then on top of that, we have the current beer situation with shortages all over the country.

“So while we have been asking this for some time now, it is once again vital that the public PLEASE be kind to hospitality workers. They are really up against it and doing their absolute best in very difficult circumstances.”

Last year the Institute of Customer Service launched a “Service with Respect” campaign, backed by the BBC, to raise awareness for this important issue and combat abuse against customer-facing workers. Their campaign states:

“With nearly 80% of the UK’s workforce working in customer-facing roles, mounting abuse is affecting staff across every sector – from retail to public services; financial institutions to our public transport networks.

Our research reveals more than half of customer-facing staff have experienced abuse from customers since the start of the pandemic – ranging from verbal abuse such as shouting and abusive language to, in the most extreme cases, physical assaults.”

With a multitude of challenges still being faced in these sectors, it’s hugely important to remember, everyone is human and doing their best to deal with difficult situations, often out of their control; it is necessary to conduct ourselves with kindness, patience, and respect to contribute to a happier and safer society.

Safetell provides a range of solutions to combat aggression and abuse in the hospitality sector. To find out more about the bespoke services we can offer to assist you in protecting your employees contact a member of our team today.

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