Restaurants to stay shuttered: One in 10 won’t reopen this year, says owner of Frankie & Benny’s and Wagamamas
The owner of Wagamama has warned that one in 10 of its restaurants will not reopen this year as it battles its way out of lockdown.
The Restaurant Group (TRG) – which has closed nearly 200 sites since the pandemic struck with the loss of 4,500 jobs – said it has started a ‘phased reopening’ of its remaining 400 venues.
The group – which also owns Frankie & Benny’s – plans to have around 100 open by the end of this month, 240 by the end of August and 360 by the end of September.
Off the menu: A Frankie & Benny’s waitress. The Restaurant Group has closed nearly 200 sites since the pandemic struck with the loss of 4,500 jobs
The 40 remaining sites – primarily in airports where visitor numbers are likely to be lower than normal for some time – are not expected to resume trading before 2021.
The decision raises questions over the future of staff who work at those sites, as the Government’s job retention scheme only supports the wages of furloughed workers until the end of October.
TRG declined to say how many jobs were affected.
Shares in the business fell 2.2 per cent, or 1.2p to 52.3p.
Like many other casual dining chains, TRG has been hammered by the pandemic, putting its Chiquito’s and Food & Fuel sites into administration and closing 125 other restaurants, including many in the Frankie & Benny’s chain.
Burger King this week revealed it may close one in 10 of its UK outlets, putting 1,600 jobs at risk, while Café Rouge and Bella Italia owner Casual Dining Group followed Carluccio’s into administration.
TRG said it has secured a £50million loan through a Covid business lending scheme set up by the Government to shore up the finances of struggling firms.
TRG’s board took a 40 per cent pay cut at the start of April as they tapped into Government furlough money.
They have now upped their pay, but will still take 20 per cent less than normal until it stops accessing the scheme.
If the cut remains in place to the end of October, chief executive Andy Hornby is likely to have given up around £100,000 of his £630,000 base salary.