A Michelin-star restaurant will stop serving lunch because of a lack of staff, its founder has announced.
David Moore, of Pied à Terre in London, said his decision comes in aid of his few staff members: “If I slog them to death, in two weeks’ time, I won’t have a restaurant,” he told the BBC.
He received 800 applications for a receptionist vacancy in November last year, but only seven for the same role three weeks ago – with no one turning up for the interview.
Even higher wages don’t cut it
He said even higher wages don’t cut it, and highlighted the problem is widespread in the industry.
“I don’t know anybody who is not looking for a kitchen porter,” he said.
He said Brexit was “definitely the biggest” reason why there are staff shortages, as “young kids” from abroad have been described as the “heartbeat” of the UK hospitality industry.
“[The government] doesn’t realise the huge commodity that they have excluded us from, that keeps this industry moving more than anything else,” he said.
He said early last year, only three out of 30 employees were British, and he currently has less than half of his previous staff numbers.
And he said workers moved back to their home nations and decided not to return to Brexit Britain.
Mark Agnew, manager of Gylly Beach Cafe in Falmouth, Cornwall, said he will close every Monday and Tuesday because of recruitment problems.
He told the BBC: “The main reason is a severe lack of trained professional chefs, [and] trained front of house.
“There seems to be a national crisis that we are now feeling the effects of. Brexit I’m sure is a factor within this.”
And Itsu boss Julian Metcalfe told the website that young European chefs have now “sadly all disappeared” because “they are not allowed in”, and labelled Brexit as a “long-term” issue for staffing.
A government spokesperson said it had “implemented an unprecedented package of measures to support businesses” during the Covid-19 pandemic and that it has been working with UK Hospitality to “better promote jobs in the sector”.
The spokesperson added: “We want employers to focus on training and investing in our domestic work force, rather than relying on labour from abroad.
“Employers should focus on getting people in the sector who are benefitting from the furlough scheme back to their roles when restrictions end.”
UK Hospitality leader on EU citizens being prevented to work
Last month, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry body UKHospitality, told The London Economic many EU citizens left the UK permanently as a result of Brexit.
She said: “There are foreign workers from the sector who made the decision to go back to Europe over course of the last year.”
“We have a large number of Eastern European, Polish, Spanish and Italian workers working in housekeeping, kitchens, restaurants and hotel managers.
She added: “In terms of future requirements, the system the UK government has put into place is going to prevent EU citizens to fill jobs post-pandemic.
“We have got domestic unemployment in the UK, shortages of people who are available for work and it’s about making sure that hospitality is seen as an attractive sector in the future.”