Restaurants are facing a recruitment crisis with a shortage of chefs, kitchen staff and waiters scuppering reopening plans.
Owners blame Covid-19, Brexit and the furlough scheme, with some reporting that they are receiving no applications when they advertise positions.
James Chiavarini, who runs Il Portico, one of London’s oldest Italian restaurants, says that he has never known a tougher recruitment situation in more than 50 years in the business.
He said: “When restaurants closed many workers left their flats to avoid paying rent and moved back home to Italy, Romania, Spain etc. Many aren’t bothering to come back as the summer season in the Med starts soon and good, high-paying work can be found all over beach resorts. And there is no chance of finding…