Michel Roux Jr has been forced to cancel lunch service at the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche restaurant in London's Mayfair and go dinner service-only from mid-June due to a staffing shortage.
A note from the chef-patron on the website partly blamed Brexit as well as a "major lack of well-trained hospitality professionals" for the move, which is hoped to be temporary. He said the alternative would be to overwork existing staff "which we are not prepared to do".
The statement said: "Since opening, restaurants up and down the country have suffered greatly with staffing problems partly due to new Brexit regulations as well as there now being a major lack of well-trained hospitality professionals since the pandemic struck. Whilst we have been working our hardest to resolve this issue over the last couple of months, Le Gavroche is sadly understaffed for the time being.
"Whilst it is incredibly frustrating and painful to report this, we have decided to open for dinner only from 5pm starting from June 14 until further notice.
"We will be getting in touch with each of you who have been so wonderful in booking lunch with us from that date in order to rearrange your booking for a dinner instead. The alternative at this point would be to essentially overwork our existing staff which we are not prepared to do as I'm sure you can understand. Our staff wellbeing is of utmost importance to us both mentally and physically and we work hard each and every service to ensure our standards are at the absolute highest of culinary excellence.
"Your patience and understanding is much appreciated at this time. We are currently working tirelessly to ensure we can resume business as usual at the earliest opportunity and are very much hoping to welcome our valued guests back at lunchtime before long."
Le Gavroche is the latest business to reduce hours due to the widely reported staffing shortage in the hospitality industry. The EatDrinkSleep group similarly decided to scrap lunch service for its pubs the Felin Fach Griffin in Powys and the Gurnard's Head in Cornwall during the week for the summer, while Luke Garnsworthy told The Caterer he had to limit opening hours of his Crockers restaurants to reduce pressure on the team. Executive chef of the St Enodoc hotel in Cornwall, Guy Owen, also reported having to cut the opening hours of the hotel's fine dining restaurant and turn down some bookings.