The Reset campaign – leading a hospitality reset

With hospitality still trying to recover from the wake of Covid-19, our businesses are under immense pressure. We all love our local restaurants and cafes but what would it be like if businesses had to close because they couldn’t find enough staff to keep the doors open?

The majority of the hospitality industry is run by owner-operators that work in their business 24/7. Along with their teams they serve us all with their hard work and dedication. However, hospitality skill shortages are currently the industry’s major stressor and we find ourselves in the midst of a staffing crisis.

Interested in a career in hospitality, or know someone looking for hospitality work? Find out more about of the opportunities available to join the industry, or contact us and we can help point you in the right direction.

Work is underway for long term solutions (find out more about some of our initiatives addressing this here), however, in the short term we’ve been hard pressed to convince the government that our migrant workers are filling a critical people gap. The reality is that without them hospitality is suffering significantly.

Before Covid-19 hit and closed our borders upwards of 25% of our workforce were international work visa holders. While borders have been closed access to these skilled international workers has essentially been turned off, however, the government has indicated that even as borders begin to reopen immigration policy will likely mean that they will still be largely inaccessible.

Losing them is enough to make a difference so big that it can affect a business in catastrophic ways.

What is the Restaurant Association doing?

We have launched a campaign to draw attention to our current staffing crisis. This focuses on a need to “Reset”. The idea is to push pause on current policy, get alongside the government to reset the conversation. We’re not being antagonistic – we are wanting an open dialogue and to work together for the best outcomes. It’s about changing the course of the current path, steering the direction into a new way of thinking and getting our members, the industry and our customers on board as we band together to make our industry better.

Our campaign is focused on highlighting the challenges and our key requests to government and includes a petition, letter templates for businesses owners to download and adapt to send to the Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration, “lights out” and stop work events and more.

Click here for our campaign timeline.

While the campaign is led by the Restaurant Association this is a collective action, launched in response to industry feedback and with input already from a number of members from across the country. Special acknowledgment to Chand Sahrawat (Cassia, Sid at the French Cafe, Sidart). We’re asking for your support too.

We need a RESET of our immigration settings now!

What are our key requests to Government?

  • Engage in meaningful dialogue with the Association as industry representatives, regarding the skill shortages and immigration policy to work towards short term and long term solutions.
  • Provide an additional visa extension for employer-assisted work visa holders currently in New Zealand.
  • Allow border exceptions for “other critical workers” from other industries, such as hospitality, where there is a proven need.
  • Allow student visas work time to be extended (as per Australia).
  • Appoint a Minister of Hospitality, or a dedicated hospitality unit within MBIE.

Let’s reset the conversation.

Campaign assets action pack

Show your support of what we are trying to achieve – help spread the word. You can download our social media action pack, letter template and signage / table talker templates below. More assets will be added throughout the campaign, including information/posters on the “lights out” and stop work events, so keep checking back for updates.

Letter template

Members and other hospitality employers can download the following template letter to show your support of our collective action. We want to make an impact by hitting a lot of inboxes, so add in your own comments and send to the Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration.

#LightsOut Event

On 6th July, 2021 we planned a “Lights Out” at either 7.00pm or 11.30am (for daytime businesses). Find out more information see how it went here.

Social Media Assets

Facebook Profile Image Frame – We have set up a profile image overlay for you to show your support of the campaign and let others know that you have signed the petition – Facebook Frame

Signage / Table Talker templates

Communicate to your customers about the campaign – it’s important that they understand our current concerns and what we are doing to address our staffing challenges, as well as what we are trying to achieve with the campaign. These handy signage / table talker templates include a QR code that once scanned takes you to this web page.

Till receipt messaging

Many point of sale systems enable you to include a short message and/or logo to the bottom of the receipt. Help spread the word to customers by adding it to you receipts. Contact your point of sale provider to arrange this – we’ve already been in touch with a number of key suppliers and they have files to upload, but you can also download the files at the links below.

Sign up to stay up to date with our campaign progress & “lights out” initiative.


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We will take part in the “Lights Out” initiative