Sheffield United explains how driver shortages and job vacancies are affecting club

Sheffield United has issued a message to its fans outlining plans to improve their ‘matchday experience’ and to make the club more environmentally friendly.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 9:58 am

The moves come in response to ‘feedback’ the club has been gathering since fans have been allowed to return to its Bramall Lane ground following the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The club has explained the impact that the shortage of delivery drivers is having on the club, with driver job vacancies interrupting the supply chain across the hospitality sector in general.

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Sheffield United fans in the stands.

The shortage of HGV drivers has been blamed on a combination of Covid and Brexit, with a large number of drivers being employed from overseas in Europe no longer working in the UK.

The Road Haulage Association now estimates that there is a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, out of a pre-pandemic total of about 600,000.

A statement from the club reads: “In light of recent matchday feedback that the club has received and reviewed on social media, we appeal to supporters for their patience and understanding as well as their passionate backing from the stands as the bars, refreshment kiosks and hospitality suites continue to operate in the face of significant market challenges.

“The club are continuing to work hard alongside our catering partners and suppliers to improve the overall matchday experience for all supporters as the nationwide labour shortage and supply chain challenges continue to disrupt our matchday operations.”

SUFC added: “In common with the hospitality industry around the country, stadium catering, cleaning and stewarding teams have had to recruit and train a new workforce and we ask that supporters please bear in mind that many staff are new to their roles. There are currently over 150,000 vacancies across the UK in the hospitality sector and a shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers all of which is having a negative effect on our overall matchday operation.“Our supply chain remains stretched with global market movements continuing to have a knock-on effect for many of the products we have relied on in previous seasons. The club are working hard alongside our catering partner to find alternative supplier solutions to shortages to minimise any disruptions if this shortfall continues.

“Alongside supply challenges, the club and our pouring rights partner, Heineken, are committed to reducing single use plastic and therefore we are no longer able to provide bottled beer and cider in our concourse areas, instead opting for the improved draught products in reusable plastic cups. We are, however, aware this can have an impact on service by as much as 10 seconds per drink.

“In response the club is reintroducing the half-time voucher system for those supporters that just want a beer at half time. The club is also working with their catering partner and pouring rights partner to open more till points and install additional beer fonts across all stands in order to reduce queues and improve service.”

The club also issued a reminder that Bramall Lane is currently a cashless venue.

Turnstiles, bars and food outlets open 90 minutes before kick-off and supporters are encouraged to come early to avoid the rush.