London restaurant tycoon urges ministers to protect rights of EU workers

Joanna Bourke
The restaurant guru behind Oblix is planning to expand in London

The London-based restaurateur behind celebrity favourites such as Oblix, Roka and Le Petite Maison, on Thursday called on the government to protect the rights of European workers as he outlined plans to invest more money in the capital’s dining sector.

Arjun Waney, who is also a shareholder in the Arts Club- where Beyonce and Jay Z have previously partied- said around 80% of his London staff are from Europe.

He told the Standard: “During the Brexit negotiations, I hope Theresa May works for a way to protect EU nationals working in the UK, ensuring those that are already here have the right to stay and maintain the same rights. These workers play a big part in my business.”

Waney was more upbeat about London’s food scene once Britain leaves the Bloc: “There is still a huge waiting list of people wanting to get into the restaurants that my family and I run. Great quality and unique products are continuing to draw in customers, and I don’t see this slowing down.”

The comments came after prime Minister Theresa May yesterday triggered Article 50, starting formal Brexit negotiations with the EU.

Separately Waney revealed his latest venture is investing £4 million to open a new Greek outlet in May called Meraki on Great Titchfield Street in Fitzrovia.

Moussaka with a twist and marinated squid flown in from Athens will feature on the menu.

“If the restaurant does well we would be looking to open another branch in Canary Wharf before the end of the year,” Waney added.