Coffee business Mojo is struggling to fill a number of vacancies throughout its business and regain lost ground from Covid-19, the company's newly appointed chief executive says.
Pierre van Heerden, who took over the reins of the cafe chain two weeks ago, says Mojo has more than 20 job vacancies for its outlets in Auckland and Wellington, ranging from front-of-house staff, through to managers, chefs and baristas.
Van Heerden, who is tasked with growing the firm's operations to pre-Covid levels, told the Herald staffing was the biggest hurdle the company faced.
He takes over the management of local operations from former Mojo general manager Katy Ellis, who left the company in March after 10 years at the helm.
"At the moment I have about 12 [job vacancies] in Wellington and about 10 in Auckland. It's front-of-house staff, chefs, managers, it's across a whole range of our operations, which is putting a lot of stress on our employees," Van Heerden said.
Staffing levels were also affecting the company's ability to bounce back and return its accounts to pre-pandemic levels, he said.
Mojo's revenue is down about 30 per cent on pre-Covid levels.
The business has struggled to regain lost trade as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic due to the locations of its cafes being housed in office blocks and many of its customers adopting flexi-working, working part of the week from home.
Its Auckland-based cafes have been the most affected.
"During Covid [the impact] has been severe, it has impacted sales ... so it's really good to see us coming out. It still has an impact on staffing levels; I've got positions open both in Auckland and Wellington because a lot of the international travellers and tourists, the young people who came over on their working visas, aren't here anymore," he said.
"There's a big gap as far as hospitality workers is concerned."
Retail makes up the largest portion of business for Mojo, currently a 70/30 split alongside its wholesale arm. Mojo operates 36 cafes.
To grow the business, he said Mojo first needed to increase its staffing levels, revamp its food offering in cafes and grow its coffee bean supply wholesale business.
Van Heerden said the business would look to grow its wholesale business, which had the potential over time to become the biggest portion of revenue for the company.
"What we're doing is making sure that we are focused on getting our core business of cafes operating much more effectively and growing the wholesale business at the same time," he said.
"We have good plans in place and if we stick to those plans; get our staffing up, enhance our food offering and then growing the wholesale side of the business I believe we will get there because coffee is something we all love, it's a ritual - I don't see that people are going to be drinking less coffee."