What is the bedrock of any restaurant or bar? What is it that even the best chefs in the world can’t do without?
Like it, or lump it, there is now a real possibility we could lose up to 60% of our fantastic front of house staff, writes David Mooney.
Whether you voted in or out it’s too late now. However, the repercussions for the food industry could just signal the start of a restaurant apocalypse
Since the announcement of Brexit, EU workers have started to trickle out of the UK. With the threat of the unknown lingering over them, they are unsure what their futures in the UK could be.
The truth is that from the bottom of our ‘food chain’; from the fruit pickers and farmer workers all the way up to restaurant managers, and higher, a large proportion of workers originate from within the EU.
Can you remember the last time you ate in a restaurant and that wasn’t the case?
You will usually find that these workers are grafters; they put in the time and the enthusiasm to help create a great dining experience – often working on or around minimum wage.
Now, I’m not saying we don’t have some fantastic UK workers in hospitality, because we do.
However, do we have enough who are willing to put in the time and effort for the minimum wage.
Similarly, how many farm workers in the UK will be willing to work outdoors in the delightful British weather for minimum wage?
So, what could this mean for the restaurant & bar community?
UK food producers will have to pay more for labour, which will hike up the cost. This, in turn, will increase restaurant overheads and increased overheads mean….. you got it, increased prices for you the customer.
Put alongside all the other rising costs, such as rents and business rates etc,
this could be the nail in the coffin for many restaurants.
So, what can we do? I honestly don’t know, it’s all the hands of a bunch of bureaucrats who have probably never worked a day in a busy restaurant & bar.
But what I do know is in the UK we have a national chef shortage; uptake on catering courses at college has dropped significantly in the last few years.
It seems the youth of today are not interested in a job which, when you start out, demands long hours and is extremely hard work and all for minimum wage.
There doesn’t seem to be a passion for cooking as there used to be.
If Mrs May and her team cannot agree a good deal for EU workers in the UK through article 50 then I dread to think what could happen.
It truly could be a restaurant apocalypse!