Saturday, 4 September 2021

1100 Croatian Hospitality and Catering Establishments Stopped Working This Season

September the 4th, 2021 - While it's true that many individual Croatian hospitality and catering establishments such as coffee bars and other cafes finally did well and managed to make some decent money this season, as many as 1100 of them were forced to stop working.

As Novac/Jozo Vrdoljak writes, after many Croatian hospitality and catering establishments were forced to shut their doors on November the 30th last year, a breath of fresh air came in the form of the news that as of September the 1st, with special epidemiological measures, they were able to receive guests again in the closed-off parts of their facilities.

The opening hours of bars and discos remained until midnight, and the direct consequence of the closure of Croatian hospitality and catering establishments with great difficulties and a drop in traffic, is most evident through the number of 1100 permanently closed establishments. It is assumed that these are mainly trade owners who closed their facilities for fear of foreclosure on their properties.

The decision to open up Croatian hospitality and catering establishments surprised many people, but it was certainly welcomed by their owners. However, measures and grants have been being negotiated and looked at again over recent days, with many people needing to wave goodbye to government help.

Bars on the Adriatic coast worked the season with a drop in traffic of 10 percent, and those on the continent with a drop of 23 percent. The realised amounts during the season in restaurants in the amount of two thirds fall on those down on the Adriatic, while in bars this ratio is three quarters in favour of those on the Adriatic.

When you look at the drop in traffic from February to May - it was 38 percent for restaurants and 62 percent for bars. According to the currently available data, there are about 35,000 Croatian hospitality and catering establishments across the country, of which about 55 percent are just bars. It has been estimated that about 7,000 such establishments don't have a terrace at all, so they couldn't operate.

Support in the amount of 4,000 kuna per employee is given to Croatian hospitality and catering establishment owners who had experienced a drop in turnover of over 60 percent, those who had a drop in the amount of 50 percent who received support in the amount of 3,000 kuna, while those with a drop in turnover of 40 percent received 2,000 kuna. Having 70 percent of their employees vaccinated against COVID-19 was also a condition.

Jelena Tabak, president of the National Association of Caterers, noted that the season will mean little to nothing if Croatian hospitality and catering establishment owners aren't allowed to work until the very end and without any restrictions.

''Even though they can work now, not all establishments will just open and start working normally straight away. It's impossible to just start to work at full capacity after not working for nine months. On that note, it would be proper for the state subsidies to remain in place in the hospitality sector as well, because our sector has been seriously affected by the coronavirus crisis. In addition, people's habits have changed and now a large number of people are actively avoiding being in enclosed spaces.

As such, there are still serious limitations to the operation of Croatian hospitality and catering establishments. For example, four square metres per guest limits the work of these places quite a lot. Some of them, however, still managed to do great job this season, but there are a large number who didn't,'' explained Jelena Tabak, who admitted that the general situation is still much better in Croatia than in some other countries.

Tabak explained that the financial growth of the income of Croatian hospitality and catering establishments is partly due to a significant rise in prices.

"It's true that some establishments have done very well this season, but cumulatively the hospitality sector is recording a serious drop in turnover. The fact is that our colleagues on the continent are in a very difficult situation, and now comes the period when even those on the Adriatic will have reduced income. What follows now is a period in which we won't have a significant number of tourists, but we'll still generate some income thanks to Croatian guests.

The problem is also that Croatian hospitality and catering establishments can’t organise parties, so they can’t create an atmosphere that will attract guests. Hospitality rests on social interaction. A restaurant does well if it creates an atmosphere and attracts guests, and owners have been deprived of that due to the measures,'' explained Tabak.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Croatian Hospitality Facilities Desperate for Staff as Pandemic Takes Toll

June the 29th, 2021 - Croatian hospitality facilities and their owners are desperate to find waiters, waitresses and other such staff as the pandemic sees many individuals formerly employed in the trade seek more secure employment owing to lockdowns and layoffs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the cry of one utterly desperate Croatian hospitality facility owner from Pula states that 1000 kuna is on offer as a gift to anyone who can find him a waiter for the season.

Although the season has already begun, and there are more and more tourists in Pula, Croatian hospitality facilities are looking for trained waiters. This owner was left without a waiter one morning because they simply didn't show up for work after a stormy night. New ones are hard to find, so they're waiting for workers from Serbia for whom the dreaded paperwork is still being dealt with by MUP.

Although many expected that because of the pandemic, we'd be falling over would-be local employees for Croatian hospitality facilities because many have returned home from working abroad, and that employers might take advantage of this situation by diminishing their rights, the total opposite has happened. Amazingly, this year there is a shortage of domestic labour on the market, writes Deutsche Welle.

From the beginning of the year to June the 16th, the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) issued 31,157 residence and work permits for third-country nationals, 13 percent more than last year during the same period, but also a fifth less than the year before. This year, 4,191 such permits were issued for work in the tourism and catering industry alone.

"Although some workers returned to Croatia due to the pandemic, there is still a noticeable shortage of labour in some industries, especially in tourism and catering, construction, and there is a lack of craftsmen such as electricians and locksmiths. From March 2020 to the end of May this year, public authorities paid more than 10.5 billion kuna for the salaries of more than 680,000 workers through job preservation support measures. Those measures cover more than 120,000 craftsmen and employers,'' explained Kresimir Sever, President of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions.

As a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, trade unionists have faced various abuses by some employers: from forcing workers into taking their annual leave, the non-payment of the corresponding difference between the contracted salary and paid state aid, to the reduction of the contracted salary without employee consent.

For more, follow our business section.