No meatballs at teatime due to staff shortages at Ikea’s Hasselt store

Staff shortages have meant that since restaurants and cafeterias were allowed to reopen more than 4 months ago the restaurant at the Ikea furniture superstore at Hasselt in Limburg Province has only been open until late afternoon. Shoppers visiting the store in the early evening that hope to sample Ikea’s special Swedish meatballs have been left disappointed as a shortage of kitchen staffs means that the restaurant is closed. 

During the lockdown kitchen staff were given alternative work inside the store itself. When the lockdown restrictions were lifted many of them opted not to return to the restaurant. This has meant that there is only enough kitchen staff for one shift and that the restaurant is unable to remain open during the evening.

However, Ikea Hasselt’s Elke Lachaert told VRT Radio 2 Limburg that "This is only part of the problem. Our restaurant was closed during the pandemic and after a short retraining session the kitchen staff were put to work in the store. Some of them have returned to the kitchen. So, we are still looking for around a dozen new kitchen staff”.

A good number of people that prior to the lockdown worked in the kitchen have said that they enjoyed their new job elsewhere in the store so much that they don’t wish to return to kitchen duties.

Nevertheless “It certainly isn’t the case that working in the kitchen isn’t nice. However, some staff have discovered that they feel good working elsewhere in the store. Some people that are currently working in the kitchen would also really prefer to go back to work in the store again. The enforced closure of the restaurant has created new challenges”, Ms Lachaert added.

It is the same story at Ikea Zaventem store in Flemish Brabant. However, there and at other Ikea store in Belgium the restaurant is still open for business in the evening. 

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