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Restaurant group Ottolenghi warns of potential staff concerns thanks to Brexit

Joanna Bourke
Restaurant group Ottolenghi is the owner of NOPI in Soho

Renowned chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s London deli and restaurant chain on Wednesday joined rivals in warning Brexit could lead to a shortage of staff.

In accounts just filed for Ottolenghi, which comprises four deli cafés, the NOPI restaurant in Soho and an online store, the firm said it “is exposed to the risk that the supply of labour may fall as a result of the UK leaving the customs union”.

It added: “There is also uncertainty over the performance of the UK’s economy.”

The Israeli-British entrepreneur co-founded the eponymous firm in 2002 and has grown his staff to more than 260 people.

Other restaurant groups to have aired concerns that Brexit could hit staffing include the parent of pizza chain Franco Manca, and Indian café chain Dishoom.

Ottolenghi was more upbeat about results for the 53 weeks to April 2. Sales rose 5.4% to £17.2 million and pre-tax profits hit £1.1 million from £737,431 despite food price inflation.

The privately owned firm said each branch, including those in Notting Hill and Islington, outperformed sales expectations.

A dividend of £900,000 was paid to four directors, including Ottolenghi, and shareholders, up from £700,000.

Planned openings include a new restaurant at 55 Wells Street in Fitzrovia.