The Michelin-starred restaurateur, who has seven venues within the capital, together with his Mayfair flagship Pollen Road Social, mentioned he’ll solely have a sufficiently big crew to function “two or three” successfully if the recruitment disaster doesn’t ease.
Atherton mentioned he has 350 unfilled vacancies — representing a couple of third of his workforce — and faces having to make “heartbreaking” selections because of the unprecedented shortfall. He mentioned January would be the “crunch time” when he must determine whether or not to mothball eating places and simply pay the lease till the disaster eases.
He mentioned: “I can’t open the Berners Tavern at lunchtime as a result of I’ve no employees. I can solely open for breakfasts for resort company. Social Consuming Home is on its knees. I simply can’t get any cooks for that kitchen in any respect. Little Social is absolutely struggling to get cooks as properly. I can’t even discover a certified company chef on a giant wage who would fly around the globe on enterprise class. I can’t do something to fill that place.
“The individuals left standing are working seven days every week, 18 hours a day to maintain us propped up. I’ve only one member of my crew saying they’re finished with it, they’re not going to place up with this sh**t anymore.”
Atherton, who has cooked for David Cameron and Theresa Could and was additionally concerned in Downing Road’s GREAT Britain marketing campaign, mentioned he was livid with the Authorities for permitting Brexit to hobble the sector.
He mentioned: “There’s a actually easy step that may assist and that’s rejoin the one market, now we have no selection. Everybody is aware of the choice we took six years in the past was the fallacious determination. They bought us a lie.”
He mentioned the Authorities had made recruitment from outdoors the EU a bureaucratic nightmare that would not presumably make up the shortfall.
He mentioned: “We have now a licence that price us £50,000 to get expertise from overseas. However the course of takes six to eight months to get one visa for somebody from India or the Philippines. It’s simply such a gradual course of, it’s like placing a sticking plaster over a bullet wound.”
Hospitality chief Chris Yates, managing director of chef Angela Hartnett’s restaurant group, mentioned: “The ability set is not there and we’re compelled to recruit comparatively inexperienced individuals and practice them to a suitable degree. This implies eating places working at a diminished capability with shorter menus, caps on covers and diminished working hours.”
The warnings got here as a bunch of different main cooks together with Tom Kerridge, Rick Stein, Angela Hartnett and Raymond Blanc launched a recruitment drive to shut the nationwide shortfall estimated at 400,000 vacancies. The marketing campaign referred to as Rise Quick, Work Younger, is backed by greater than 300 companies and can function a six-figure promoting marketing campaign utilizing TikTok, digital adverts and high-profile outside spots.