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19th Aug 2021

Blame it on Brexit – Nando’s is out of chicken

Kieran Galpin


Cheeky Nando’s just got a little less cheeky thanks to Brexit

On Thursday, Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said that Brexit is to blame for staffing shortages at Nando’s suppliers and a reduced number of lorry drivers. This week, high-street favourites Nando’s shut 45 outlets due to the developing situation. Their presence was missed by hordes of loyal fans who can’t get enough of their signature chicken and wide array of spicy condiments.

“The situation we’re seeing I think is a result of the Brexit issues that have arisen,” he told BBC Radio 4. “And we’re seeing struggles across the supply chain with shortage of labour.”

Since January free movement of EU nationals to live and work in the UK has ended. Since Brexit, migrants have to fulfil an array of criteria, and so-called low-skilled workers are barred from entering the UK completely. This is in sharp contrast to the EU immigration system before January 1st in which no criteria applied.

Mr Griffiths said: “They are skilled workers. There is an awful lot of skill involved in the roles we are looking at – it’s just under immigration policy they’re not classed as skilled workers.”

When asked if he could simply offer better pay and recruit UK workers he replied: “That’s just not the case. We’ve seen over a number of years that the willingness and availability are just not there in the UK workforce.”

“As a country, we’re struggling to feed everyone at the moment – we’re seeing increasing food insecurity.”

He continued, touching on the pandemic’s impact on business: “Our members are reporting up to 16 per cent vacancies at the moment and this is a direct result of the limiting of immigration policies.

“We are asking the government to ease those, and also look at the skills and development arena as well to try and encourage not just non-UK but also UK workers into the sector.”

A poultry industry source told the PA news agency said that due to the “complexity” of products needed for the likes of Nando’s and KFC, they will face greater levels of disruption from staff shortages than even supermarkets. This was echoed as KFC warned it could not supply various items on its menu due to similar pressures on their supply chain.

A Nando’s spokeswoman said on Wednesday: “The UK food industry has been experiencing disruption across its supply chain in recent weeks due to staff shortages and a number of our restaurants have been impacted.

“However, since Monday, a team of our brilliant Nandocas have been supporting our key suppliers onsite – working in partnership to help get things moving again, and this has already had a positive impact on affected restaurants.

“From this Saturday, as a result of the hard work behind the scenes, it is our intention that all of our restaurants will be open again, and all our customers can enjoy their favourite peri-peri chicken.”