Is Brexit to blame?

Oooo getting all political here but there was recently a great deal of press surrounding “Jamies Italian” closing a number of its restaurants brexit-1that basically were under performing and the reason given was the “Brexit Effect”

One said establishment is local to me in central Tunbridge Wells. Now I have to say I have not eaten at this said establishment but looking at the local reviews and Tripadvisor feedback there seems to have been some local animosity to this place and generally negative feedback and when it was announced many said “no sad loss”

A touch harsh but what intrigued me was the reasons given by Jamie Oliver himself was “the Brexit vote” There has been much press recently about how the uncertainty of labour movement will effect the hospitality industry and an already struggling industry with regards to staffing will therefore suffer even more.

I know of one hotel close by to me that is fundamentally staffed totally in the kitchen by a plethora of foreign labour (EU and beyond) another local pub to me has possibly 50% of its brigade as ex prison offenders (a very noble gesture by the employer but perhaps out of more necessity as recruitment is so hard)

The biggest issue the hospitality industry faces today  operationally is staffing… I was recently at a meeting at one of the UK’s leading Hospitality Schools and was staggered to learn that their intake of new students in particular for post graduate programmes was dominated by international students and on their undergraduate programmes a pretty high proportion come from within the European Union… another likely pressure post Brexit on our labour pool.

The hospitality industry fails to attract youngsters committed to a career in it. It’s often seen as unsociable and poorly paid. In fact  I have been involved in the past with several school career fairs and been so frustrated by the lack of understanding of both schools and parents as to what the hospitality industry actually involves.

As the UK’s 4th largest hospindustry it is about time people wake up to what it can offer in employment not just in the UK but globally and more importantly the effect that our lurching towards an even more insular and inward looking approach will impact their future.

Jamie’s comments for me are not without foundation, someone like him with such a global profile to be concerned by the “Brexit Effect” needs to be thought about more deeply.

hosp2Why is it when I eat out the staff that serve me or cook for me are more often than not from overseas and display far more passion for the job they do than their British counterparts?

I fear the future post Brexit does look a shade bleak, I am however optimistic that passion will surface and ever the optimist the future will be brighter…  so what do you think?



2 thoughts on “Is Brexit to blame?”

  1. Hospitality and customer service has always been underrated as a role in this country, in Europe and the USA waiting staff are nearly always welcoming, pleasant and appear to be happy to serve. Gary and I went to a newly opened local restaurant some time ago and our waitress obviously knew nothing about either food or wine and, more to the point, didn’t seem to care. A change of attitude all round is needed.

    We did go to a Jamie’s Italian and it was okay, but not great. Eating pate on a board propped up by two tin cans is not fine dining!


    1. I totally agree Tricia… Alas I think we suffer somewhat from what I call the “Upstairs Downstairs Syndrome” in this country where service is viewed as a second rate profession! What worries me more is “drawing up the drawbridge” and the youth today not viewing a career in hospitality as a viable option will further impact the industry I love. Alas your recent experience is a result of poor training and recruitment of the right person to do the job in the first place… we need to put pride and passion top of the list!

      Jamie’s Italian never purported to be fine dining but prices alas did it no justice – some were better than others… the Oxford branch when it first opened was stunning and generally overall the product was and is consistent. It is a brand at the end of the day like Cote, Wagamamma and such like.

      Would be lovely to see you and Gary again at a future event soon 🙂


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