Frankie & Benny’s proprietor: Some websites will not reopen

Frankie & Benny's restaurant in LondonImage copyright Getty Images

The proprietor of Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s is ready to inform employees {that a} “large number” of its retailers won’t reopen after lockdown.

In an electronic mail to employees seen by the BBC, the Restaurant Group says many websites are “no longer viable to trade and will remain closed permanently.”

The group seems to be rushing up earlier plans to close eating places as commerce suffers because of the pandemic.

Staff will probably be advised if their workplaces will stay shut by electronic mail on Wednesday.

“The Covid-19 crisis has significantly impacted our ability to trade profitably, so we’ve taken the tough decision to close these restaurants now,” the e-mail stated.

The message was despatched to managers within the group’s Leisure Division, which incorporates greater than 200 Frankie & Benny’s retailers. It will not be but clear which of them will probably be shut, or what number of.

Those at the moment working in websites because of keep closed have been advised: “Unfortunately, unless there are any suitable alternative roles identified, it’s likely your role will be made redundant.”

Restaurant Group has declined to remark.

It is certainly one of Britain’s largest restaurant operators, with some 22,000 employees at the moment on furlough. It additionally owns the Wagamama chain and a few pub items, which aren’t a part of the division which acquired the e-mail.

The Restaurant Group additionally stated in March that 61 out of 80 branches of its Tex-Mex eating chain Chiquito’s would stay closed completely because it fell into administration.

It cited the Covid-19 outbreak as having had “an immediate and significant impact on trading”.

However, the group had already introduced in February, previous to the introduction of lockdown measures, that it will velocity up present plans to shut eating places.

Initially it had deliberate to make 150 closures – which have been first signalled in 2019 – over a six-year interval. It then stated it will shut 90 eating places by the top of 2021.

‘Staff are disposable’

“I feel completely overwhelmed and upset,” says Georgia. She has been working as a part-time waitress at one Frankie & Benny’s outlet since final April.

“I’m angry, as they feel as though staff are disposable,” she says, including that the dearth of certainty round work amid lockdown has created psychological stress.

“I just can’t believe that they would send that kind of message to managers without any warning,” she provides.

The group had already seen gross sales falling throughout many retailers. That got here regardless of stronger revenues throughout the broader group in its Wagamamas and pub items.

It stated in February that like-for-like gross sales in its leisure enterprise (stripping out the impact of latest eating places opening), which incorporates Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito, fell by 2.8% in 2019.

Lockdown losses

Many informal eating chains had already been struggling within the face of rising overheads and falling client spending.

But these within the hospitality sector have seen their issues worsen because of the coronavirus pandemic, as prospects have been pressured to remain at home amid lockdown.

Carluccio’s, for instance, was purchased out of administration by the proprietor of Giraffe eating places.

Despite its rescue, greater than 1,000 jobs will probably be misplaced on the Italian restaurant chain, greater than half of its whole workforce. The directors stated the lockdown meant troublesome selections needed to be taken.

Restrictions geared toward curbing the unfold of Covid-19 pressured most cafes and eating places to shut in March, however some have since reopened as takeaways solely.

When lockdown was initially introduced in March, commerce association Hospitality UK stated it was “catastrophic for businesses and jobs”.

Its chief govt Kate Nicholls warned on the time that the measures might “lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses”.

Pubs, eating places, hairdressers, inns, cinemas and locations of worship will probably be allowed to open from 4 July on the earliest in England, if they will meet social distancing measures.