According to a new report, London’s cafés and coffee shops have reduced staffing hours by 40% in response to declining footfall post-pandemic.
Unlike pubs, bars and sit down restaurants, which the data shows have broadly returned to pre-pandemic staffing hours, city centre cafés and coffee shops are suffering more long term effects.
London has seen a gradual return of workplace activity since the pandemic. However, 6 in 10 Londoners are currently undertaking some form of hybrid working. This has led to a sustained 40% loss in workplace activity in the city, as more commuters are opting to work from home. Consequently, the decline in day-time commuters in the city centre has led to a drop in spending – and the employment levels of hospitality operators.
In fact, 40% of national job losses in the hospitality industry over the past two years occurred in London, particularly in the working districts of the City of London and nearby boroughs, reflecting the significant extent of the loss of workplace activity and their spending in the city centre.
The Big Shift: Rise of the Neighbourhood Economy report, from leading shift work platform Deputy, reveals insights into how the hospitality industry is coping more than two years after the pandemic began, amid widespread staff shortages, energy price hikes, the cost of living crisis and ongoing supply chain disruptions.
The report was created in partnership with independent labour economist Shashi Karunanethy PhD, who provided expert insight into market conditions over an analysis of more than 2.3 million shifts and 17.3 million hours worked by 41,884 British hospitality workers.
Shashi Karunanethy said: “As commuters increasingly work from home, they are spending more in their local hospitality venues. This has led to a resurgence in the neighbourhood hospitality industry, where 60 per cent of national employment gains in hospitality have occurred in the commuter regions and suburbs that surround London.”
ONS data finds that gains in employment surrounding London (an additional 41,000 jobs) are almost equal to the fall in employment in the city centre (a loss of 45,000 jobs). This suggests that as a result of a shift of workplace activity from the city centre to the suburbs, the hospitality economy has rebalanced to the neighbourhoods.
Karunanethy believes that economic rejuvenation of the city centres will be built on attracting visitors to the cities, and the rebalancing of the commercial property market to attract new industries into the centre. He anticipates that authorities will encourage more civic, cultural and experiential activities to drive visitor spending in the centre.