‘Challenging’ recruitment landscape forces Ottolenghi to cut opening hours as group sees turnover rise

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

‘Challenging’ recruitment landscape forces Ottolenghi group to cut opening hours as group sees turnover rise

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The Ottolenghi group has had cut operating hours across some of its sites as a result of challenges to recruitment caused by Brexit and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Writing in the group’s accounts for the year ended 31 March 2023, CEO Emilio Foa says the business has been ‘forced to change operating hours in some circumstances’.

Ottolenghi's restaurant group, which celebrated its 20th birthday last year​, operates several cafés across London under its eponymous brand alongside higher spend one-offs Nopi in Soho and Rovi in Fitzrovia. It also owns an external catering business.

The group has reported strong trading across its estate over the period with turnover rising to £27.8m, up from £21.1m the year before.

However, profit before tax dropped from £5.9m to £769,671, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell from £2.9m to £2.8m.

Despite the ongoing challenges with recruitment, Foa cites an increase in wage costs as being a key contributor to the drop in EBITDA.

“Most of our sites were able to fill vacancies left by post Covid-19 recruitment challenges and so staff headcount increased,” he says.

“High inflation put pressure on wages and we have reviewed our pay structure to be even more competitive in the labour market.

“We also placed a greater focus on training, establishing a dedicated Learning and Development team.”

He adds that against the backdrop of economic challenges, the directors are pleased with the group’s overall performance across the year.

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