Despite January being the traditional high-season on Waiheke, some restaurants and cafes are shutting up shop on certain days of the week or reducing their hours of operation due to the hospitality staffing crisis.
Poderi Crisci restaurant manager and Restaurant Association member James Boyle says it’s likely almost all island operators have suffered to some degree this season.
“Businesses are having to adapt and reconsider opening hours or the scope of their operations over the course of the season,” he said.
“I’m aware that some businesses are also considering closing more days than they would normally over this period and others have had to close parts of their operation such as tasting rooms, so as to concentrate on the running of restaurants.”
James says many businesses have adapted by changing their menus or limiting numbers of bookings.
“I would be surprised if any restaurant claimed they were fully staffed in the kitchen. It has been a tough season to be a chef on Waiheke and the workload placed on them has been huge.”
Jenny Zhao, part-owner at Wai Kitchen in Oneroa, says that during the height of the holiday season she decided to close the typically seven-days-a-week café for a day midweek so her staff could have a break.