Harrogate's staffing crisis: Famous pub chain joins battle to recruit in district

JD Wetherspoons may be one of Britain’s biggest chains of bars but that has not given it immunity from recent nationwide struggles to recruit staff in the light of lockdown and Brexit.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 25th April 2022, 10:39 am
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 10:42 am

From bus drivers to hairdressers, baristas to bar staff, there's few areas of the services sector which haven't been hit by a combination of different factors making recruitment a struggle for businesses - including the lingering effects of both Brexit and Covid.

Since the former Winter Gardens in Harrogate’s historic Royal Baths - which was built in 1897 - became the 600th Wetherspoon pub nationally in 2002, it has proven a popular draw, in particular, once the brand opened all its titles for breakfast six days a week in the same year.

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Two of Wetherspoons' pubs in the Harrogate district are now keen to recruit staff - Winter Gardens in Harrogate and The Crown Inn on the High Street in Knaresborough.

Two of its pubs in the Harrogate district are now keen to recruit staff - The Crown Inn on the High Street in Knaresborough and Winter Gardens on Parliament Street in Harrogate.

Like many in Harrogate’s business community, the national chain believes there has to be a rethink on the whole nature of working in the food and drink sector and the hospitality industry.

The biggest switch of emphasis has to be from seeing working in this part of the economy as a job to regarding it as a career.

To that end, JD Wetherspoons in the Harrogate district has been liaising with local job centres which are also keen to address the recruitment crisis.

The famous brand, which in the past has run into controversy with unions at some of its pubs, claims there are real opportunities to build a career even in such a busy and hard-working environment.

It has now issued a package of incentives to attract staff in Harrogate and Knaresborough which includes:

Guaranteed (and variable) hours contracts are available;

Paid holidays;

Award winning training and great career opportunities;

A bonus scheme and loyalty reward scheme;

Free shares (after a qualifying period);

At 18 years of age and over, an hourly rate of pay from £10.10 per hour, under 18 hourly rate from £8.50, depending on location and training;

Rotas three weeks in advance;

12 hours between shifts;

Transfers to other pubs if people re-locate;

A free meal and a drink when working;

A 50% discount on food and soft drinks, when working;

A 20% discount on all food, drinks and hotel accommodation when not working;

£1 extra per hour, for hours worked between 12am and 5.59am.