Ottolenghi warns of potential post-Brexit staff shortages as profits rise

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ottolenghi warns of potential post-Brexit staff shortages as profits rise

Related tags: United kingdom, European union

Yotam Ottolenghi’s London restaurant and deli chain is the latest hospitality group to warn it could face a potential shortage of staff after Brexit.

In accounts filed on 2 January the company's directors, including Ottolenghi, said it was exposed to the risk that 'the supply of labour may fall as a result of the UK leaving the Customs Union’.

“There is also uncertainty over the performance of the UK’s economy because of the change in the relationship with the EU,” the directors wrote.

Last year a KPMG study commissioned by the British Hospitality Association estimated that 75% of UK waiting staff and 25% of chefs were from EU countries outside the UK.

In December Wahaca co-founders Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby told BigHospitality​ they had trained staff who had come in washing dishes up to head chef and area manager positions, and were concerned that a post-Brexit clampdown on immigration would make development of EU staff more difficult.

“We are immensely proud of all our teams working at each of our sites, and believe the business is only as good as the people it employs,” said Ottolenghi’s directors.

The group, which runs four London delis and the Nopi restaurant in Soho, said each of its sites had continued to ‘outperform’ sales expectations with a ‘significant improvement’ at its 70-cover Spitalfields deli.

Turnover rose 5.4% to £17.2m in the 53 weeks to 2 April 2017, while profit before tax increased from £775,443 to £1.12m.

The company also confirmed it has signed a lease for its biggest restaurant yet at the 55 Wells St development​ in Fitzrovia, which is set for completion by the end of 2017.

It is also backing former Nopi head chef Ramael Scully’s upcoming solo restaurant Scully,​ opening early this year.

Israeli-born chef Ottolenghi opened his first deli in 2002 and Nopi in 2011.

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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