Double V, a food and beverage establishment in Ta’ Xbiex, has closed its doors for good, with the management citing staffing issues as the reason behind the decision.

“As you would have imagined or found out we have officially closed down,” the restaurant said in an announcement on Facebook, where it highlighted the difficulty such establishments are still facing to recruit workers.

“The main reason was the staff,” it said. “These days finding the best staff which give you what you want and lead you to the direction you wish to arrive is difficult.”

It explained that recruitment is not “just” a matter of “employing a chef or a waiter”.

It goes further than that, with employers looking for “someone who can treat customers [as] they deserve and the reason they are coming to your business.”

The catering sector has long been feeling the strain of a very tight labour market, with the issue being raised over and over by industry stakeholders.

Last year, some restaurants took the difficult decision to cut back on their opening hours since they could not find enough staff to operate at full capacity.

The labour shortage seems to have eased off, and makes far fewer headlines in 2023. However, Double V’s closure points to an issue that is not quite yet resolved.

The problem is multifaceted, driven in part by changing expectations on what a good work-life balance entails, depressed wages, and an exodus of experienced workers during the partial lockdowns imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All these factors are compounded by a shrinking local population - in 2021, Minister for Employment Clyde Caruana noted that the local working population actually decreased by 5,000 over the last decade, despite the rapid increase in economic growth and employment, which has largely relied on imported labour. 

For its part, Double V was careful not to throw its team under the bus: “Please note that we had some good staff and also would like to thank them for their input,” it said.

Meanwhile, fans of the eatery’s food and drink have other opportunities to get their fill, as the eatery will continue to operate mobile bar rentals.

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Written By

Robert Fenech

Robert is curious about the connections that make the world work, and takes a particular interest in the confluence of economy, environment and justice. He can also be found moonlighting as a butler for his big black cat.