Pret A Manger is expecting to struggle to find new employees after Brexit, its director of human resources has said.
Currently just one in 50 job applicants to work in the high-street chain is British, Andrea Wareham revealed.
She said the industry is not seen as desirable enough to attract a significant number of UK jobseekers.
Pret A Manger’s staff is made up from 110 different nationalities, with 65% of those from outside the UK being EU citizens, Ms Wareham told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.
She added: “If I had to fill all our vacancies in British-only applicants I would not be able to fill them… because of a lack of applications.”
Responding to a suggestion by Labour peer Lord Darling that if the chain paid higher wages it would draw UK citizens to the industry, Ms Wareham said she doubted that would work.
“I actually don’t think increasing pay would do the trick, I can only talk for Pret on this, but we do pay well above the National Living Wage, we do have great benefits and we offer fantastic careers”, Ms Wareham said.
She added: “It really is a case of do people want to work in our industry?
“We are not seen always as a desirable place to work and I think that’s the trick.”
Brexit Secretary David Davis has previously suggested that the UK could not just “suddenly shut” the door on immigration, because it would take “years and years” to fill jobs in sectors that rely heavily on migrants, such as hospitality and social care.