The Business Times

London restaurants face a world of pain in 2017

They see rising ingredients costs from a weaker pound post-Brexit vote, higher property taxes from April and labour issues as strong headwinds

Published Thu, Feb 16, 2017 · 09:50 PM


LONDON restaurateurs are looking to the future. And many don't like what they see.

"As a restaurant operator, 2017 terrifies me," said Russell Norman, co-owner of the Polpo, a popular mini-chain of Italian restaurants. "It really could be a perfect storm."

London's dining scene is arguably more vibrant and successful than it's ever been, and by one measure, at least, 2016 was a record year for openings. Many chefs think business will still improve this year, but they see strong headwinds.

First there was Britain's vote on June 23 to leave the European Union, which sent chefs into a spin: Restaurant owners rely heavily on hosts, waiters and cooks from Spain, Italy and France, and they fear Brexit will mean restrictions on the right to work in the UK. When the British pound tanked after the vote, restaurants …

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