DIM T and Wildwood owner Tasty has revealed the group still has five of its 54 sites shuttered as the hospitality labour shortage bites.
Both recruiting and retaining staff is still "very difficult", and recruitment has not been able to "keep up with the needs of the business" as staycations and lockdown savings fuelled demand over summer, the company said.
It comes days after Clive Watson, chair of the listed City Pub Group, called on the Government to introduce a new two- to three-year working visa scheme for EU nationals to help ease the staffing crisis.
Brexit and Covid have seen many young workers return to their home countries, and City Pubs has around 10% of roles vacant.
Watson told the Standard: "I hope it is something the Government will consider, given that the shortages are not just in our sector but in farming and the NHS."
Tasty recorded a post-tax loss of £2.7 million for the half-year to June 27.
It saw revenues of £11.6 million for the six months to June 27, despite long periods of lockdown, up 33% from its £8.7 million in sales in the same period in 2020.
Group chairman Keith Lassman said that despite remaining cautious on outlook, "Tasty is now in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities in the sector" including vacant sites left by rivals shrinking estates, and retail closures.
Ask Italian founders Adam and Sam Kaye own a 40% stake in Tasty. Adam Kaye stepped down from the board last September, and Sam Kaye stepped down in May.