Four long years ago, Britain's pubs and restaurants were awash with everything approaching the equivalent of an ordinary Christmas.
During typical years, a barrage of feasts, family dinners, and working-class dissipation catapult a profitable sector to a new level, helping to weather meager times.
About half of the industry's businesses hired employees for the busy next few weeks, an average of eight, according to recruitment website Caterer.com.
And ballooning inflation has forced many would-be joyhounds to tighten their belts.
The sector offers a wealth of incredible short and long-term career opportunities that are rewarding, flexible and social, and the objective is that many of the temporary roles created over Christmas will be
converted into long-term jobs. As businesses continue to meet consumer demand in the "experience economy," hospitality remains a vital part of British society and community.
So is 2023 the year in which the industry will celebrate again, the way it did in 2019?
Kathy Dyball, Managing Director at Caterer.com, said: 'Despite the cost-of-living crisis and the longstanding skills challenge in the sector, hospitality businesses are preparing for a busy festive season and are