The co-founder of an upmarket fast food chain says it has struggled to hire European staff in the wake of Brexit.
John Vincent, co-founder and chief executive of Leon, told The Telegraph that the firm’s “ability to recruit has been weakened” since Brexit.
Leon is an upmarket UK chain which currently has 36 restaurants in the UK, and is a widely popular lunch destination for those seeking its brand of “naturally fast food.”
The chain has a Mediterranean-inspired menu, and Vincent said that he wanted to “employ people who can project and understand that — people from Italy, the south of France, and so on.”
He said that his workforce had been “very upset” by the referendum result, as it made them feel unwelcome as immigrants, and made them feel worried about being allowed to stay.
“We still don’t know — and the government won’t tell us — what the immigration situation is going to be,” he added.
Many industry leaders have voiced concerns over the impact of Brexit on UK recruitment. A Bank of England report in September found that businesses have put hiring on hold, and stalled investment since the EU referendum result.
In August, the recruitment firm PageOne announced significant job cuts, citing “tougher trading conditions” in the run-up, and wake of, the EU referendum.
Vincent’s comments come as prime minister Theresa May pledged that immigration curbs would be at the heart of her Brexit policy.
May used her speech at the Conservative party conference to say that “we are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again.”
She added that “existing [EU] workers’ legal rights will continue to be guaranteed in law”, but stopped short of outlining a future immigration policy for EU nationals.
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