Noosa restaurants on Hastings Street partly close doors after staff and housing shortages

Article by Asa Andersen courtesy of the Courier Mail.

Brekky has been binned, lunches let go and dinners dropped at several renowned restaurants along Noosa’s world-famous Hastings St strip as staff shortages mount.

The changes to menu offerings have been forced by a depletion of the workforce affecting many hospitality operators in the popular tourist hotspot.

Bistro C, Locale, Cafe Le Monde, and Aromas Restaurant and Bar Noosa along Hastings St, Noosa are among some of the eateries to have dialled back opening hours, with many citing a shortage of backpackers and housing in the area.

Aromas Restaurant & Bar Noosa manager Sabina Franz said her restaurant had shrunk its dinner hours from seven to two days a week because it was unable to find employees.

“It’s crippling,” she said.

Ms Franz said the 12-staff restaurant, still open for breakfast and lunch, struggled to find employees partly because there were less backpackers in the area following the pandemic.

Aromas Restaurant & Bar Noosa manager Sabina Franz. Picture: Asa Andersen.

“We’re struggling – full stop,” she said

Locale owner Rio Capurso said his revenue had dipped as he reduced outdoor seating and lunch hours from seven to two days a week given he was down 12 staff, including chefs.

Mr Capurso said the was due to a shortage of backpackers and accommodation and he didn’t know when it would return to normal.

“I can’t see it happening at the moment,” he said.

Cafe Le Monde manager Declan Fergus, 31, said he has been closed for dinner twice a week since early this month, which naturally dented sales.

While there were plenty of teenagers to hire, Mr Fergus said total staff was down by 25 per cent as there were no skilled-staff, like chefs and baristas.

Mr Fergus said having restaurants limit their hours was also making the iconic street look a tad dull.

“It means there are times where there’s nothing in town. It kills the atmosphere a little bit,” he said.

With a sign taped to its front door saying, “extremely understaffed”, Bistro C has also temporarily closed its breakfast hours and stopped lunch service on Tuesdays from August 16.

“Unfortunately due to staff shortages we will be closing for Tuesday lunch services indefinitely,” a social media post from Bistro C read.

“If you know of anyone looking for work in a fun, fast-paced environment, please mention us.”

Noosa Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ralph Rogers said the hospitality industry was partly suffering from workers being unable to find housing, but he had a solution up his sleeve.

Called ‘Adopt a Worker’, Mr Rogers said he has proposed a pilot solution to Noosa Shire Council to help connect workers with homeowners who had spare bedrooms.

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