Ibrahim Dogus said immigration has been a force for good in the UK, especially in sectors such as hospitality
Tuesday, 15th January 2019,
- The receipts at the Westminster Grill, and other restaurants belonging to Ibrahim Dogus, now read, ‘Brexit is bad’
- The restaurateur wants to send out a positive message as the Commons continues to clash over Brexit
- The hospitality industry relies on EU nationals, and many feel Brexit will damage UK restaurants
A London restaurant owner has added an anti-Brexit message to his dining receipts ahead of the meaningful vote in Parliament on Theresa May’s deal.
The Prime Minister is gearing up for another Commons showdown on 15 January as she looks to secure her draft Brexit deal. MPs are painfully divided, and her vote is not expected to win approval from most.
All the while, Ibrahim Dogus, owner of the Westminster Grill, a popular dining destination for politicians just across the river from Parliament, has added a snappy, amusingly provocative missive to his restaurant bills.
A small protest
Receipts now say: “Brexit is bad. Immigrants make Britain great. They also cooked and served your food today.”
Mr Dogus, who is known to many on the political circuit thanks to his involvement in the British Kebab Awards, said he dislikes the fact Brexit is even being debated so close to his restaurants.
The restaurateur moved to the UK as a Kurdish refugee in 1994 and started working in the industry aged 14. He now also owns a kebab shop on the Southbank, and La Cucina Di Mamma in Waterloo.
Mr Dogus told i: “Brexit has been bad for small businesses, including my restaurants. It has caused problems for my European colleagues and staff.
“There has been a lot negativity around immigration. I believe immigration has been good for UK and it is a crucial part of the British economy and culture.
“I thought we can add our voices to receipts – it’s a small gesture.”
“Today is a historic day and we hope that Parliament votes the deal down and finds a better way forward – one that brings the country back together,” he added.
“We need to make sure we do not end up losing jobs, trade, basic rights, and that we start celebrating immigration.”
Mr Dogus said he also plans – if Brexit does go ahead – to pay the £65 settled status application fees for the EU nationals working for him. Carluccio’s was the first to announce such intentions, and others, including Raymond Blanc, have followed suit.
A brief note on receipts might seem like a trivial endeavour given the wider Brexit debate, but they may well reach discerning eyes.
The likes of Boris Johnson, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn, and Dominic Grieve are just some of the politicians who have dined at the Westminster Grill over the years.
“Many others [politicians] have been here,” Mr Dogus said.
In December 2016, the grill house was even the scene of a mini-Labour Party karaoke-based uprising, as a number of MPs sang Tony Blair’s 1997 Election-winning anthem “Things Can Only Get Better” and chanted “We want Tony!”, only for Corbyn to reportedly storm out looking upset.