Post-Brexit: restaurants struggle to find staff

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:19s - Published
Post-Brexit: restaurants struggle to find staff

Post-Brexit: restaurants struggle to find staff

Polish chef at Damian Wawrzyniak worries about finding enough trained staff for his restaurant in the post-Brexit UK.

The 40-year-old says he will have to raise prices in his restaurant by about 20% if he has to pay his waiters and junior chefs the minimum salary set by the government to bring European Union nationals to Britain to work from next year.

Olivia Chan reports.


Before dinner service at Damian Wawrzyniak's restaurant, he is busy preparing dishes inspired by his home country - Poland.

He came to Britain 16 years ago and has worked as a head chef at the London Olympics and cooked for members of the royal family.

These days, however, he is worrying about finding enough trained staff for his restaurant, after the UK government announced new post-Brexit immigration plans for EU nationals.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) POLISH CHEF, DAMIAN WAWRZYNIAK, SAYING: "If the proposal will go through, we are going to have issues to find the staff which we already have, but we are gonna be probably near to impossible to get employ new, let's say a baker to head chef or chef because we won't be able to afford it." Under the new rules, people from the European Union will no longer have the automatic right to work in Britain.

Instead to qualify, migrants will have to meet certain criteria such as specific skills and receive a job offer with a salary of at least £25,600 - that's more than $32,000.

This will end an era of cheap labor from the EU in restaurants, hotels and factories.

Mark Jones, the chief executive of Carluccio's which runs a chain of Italian restaurants said he is skeptical that there are enough Britons to fill the gap created by fewer EU employees.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CARLUCCIO'S, MARK JONES, SAYING: "I mean, we're hugely disappointed in the announcement because we've worked so hard to build, you know, a fantastic team over the last 20 years in the U.K. and we have 80 percent of our team are non-UK EU nationals.

So it's been a huge surprise to us.

We're determined to work hard to lobby government, but it was a shock." Supporters of tougher immigration rules say the large pool of EU workers, meant earnings for Brits stagnated.

Concern over high levels of immigration was one of the key drivers behind Britain's 2016 vote to leave the bloc.

Since then annual immigration from continental Europe has fallen by more than half.

For Wawrzyniak, he is still looking for a chef for his restaurant.

Until he finds someone to fill the vacancy, he will have to come in at 6am every morning to do the job.

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