A Kendal restaurant has been forced to close because it cannot find workers to staff it.
Little Italy, at Stramongate, closed on Friday.
“It was a very successful restaurant but I just can’t staff it,” said Richard Berry, owner of the group of companies which owns Little Italy.
“We got to the bare bones with really good-quality staff and getting new staff when people leave is almost impossible,” he said.
Mr Berry said Little Italy – formerly known as Gianni’s – had been closed on and off during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
He added: “I think staff have drifted away from hospitality during the lockdowns.”
He said there was a shortage generally in the hospitality industry of chefs, front of house staff, waiters and bar workers.
In recent weeks Little Italy had nine, mainly full-time staff but needed around 15 to operate most effectively.
None of the nine staff had been let go as a result to the closure decision.
“One left of his own free will and the others have moved to other parts of the group of companies I own,” said Mr Berry.
He described Little Italy as one of the most successful restaurants in Kendal over the past 25 years.
His group of companies took it on about two-and-a-half years ago and renamed it from Gianni’s to Little Italy.
The restaurant had been fully booked for dinner for the weekend.
Mr Berry said those who had booked had been telephoned to let them know of the closure.
He said the premises were now available to rent or to buy for someone to keep it operating as a restaurant or potentially for another use.
If anyone is interested, they can contact Mr Berry at the Lakes Hotel & Spa, another part of the group, on 015394 42211.