Restaurant to close and café cuts days as staff crisis bites

TWO popular restaurants have been forced to reduce their opening hours or close their business as staff shortages continue to plague the hospitality industry.

The Ranch West closed last week and is offering takeaways only until 31 December
The Ranch West closed last week and is offering takeaways only until 31 December

The Café Dodo at the Zoo and The Ranch West restaurant have become the latest victims of a staffing crisis which industry representatives say has been caused by a combination of factors, including Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Café Dodo has been forced to close on Mondays and Tuesdays, while The Ranch West is shutting down – just weeks after the owners opened its sister restaurant, The Ranch East, in Gorey Village.

Dr Lesley Dickie, chief executive of Durrell, said: ‘Like many businesses in Jersey, we have been really struggling with staff shortages at our cafés, despite ongoing recruitment. Sadly, we have had to make the difficult decision to close Café Dodo for two days a week, in addition to putting a stop to our takeaway service at Café Firefly on Friday and Saturday evenings.

‘These decisions were not taken lightly, and we are devastated that we cannot operate as usual. Not only will this be disappointing for our members and visitors, but it will also have an impact on our income, which provides vital funds to care for the animals at the Zoo.

‘We do, however, hope that people will continue to visit and enjoy exploring the rest of the Zoo, which remains open seven days a week, as does Café Firefly at the Zoo entrance.

‘We sincerely hope that we will be able to return to our usual café services very soon.’

In a post on social media, the owners of The Ranch said: ‘Due to our lease expiring and staff shortages the Island is currently facing, we unfortunately have no alternative but to close The Ranch West.

‘The restaurant will be closing its doors but we will still be offering takeaways and collections until 31 December. This has been an extremely hard decision to make and we say this with a heavy heart.

‘But, due to the current climate and the effect Covid and staffing has had on the hospitality industry across the Island, we have made the decision to focus on The Ranch East in Gorey Village and revisit returning to the wild west at a later date.

‘You will still be able to grab a takeaway, a coffee or hot chocolate at the hatch in The Ranch West until the end of year, or visit our fabulous Ranch East restaurant.’

Earlier this year, the owners of town coffee shop Locke’s scrapped plans to open an outlet in St Aubin, citing concerns about finding staff and objections from neighbours.

Meanwhile Andrew Hosegood, owner of El Tico, revealed in August that he had been offered an opportunity to open a second outlet in town but had been forced to decline as he was not confident he would find enough staff.

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