'This is a regrettable but necessary step to ensure that we emerge from the crisis with a lower cost base, a more flexible operating model and a stronger more resilient business'

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd September 2020

Hotel and restaurant chain behind premier inn, Whitbread PLC expects to make 6,000 redundancies - almost 20 percent of its workforce- in a bid to restructure its business in light of the coronavirus, after recording sales losses of 77.2 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2020.

The company - the UK's largest hospitality provider - has stressed that despite the high number of redundancies, the business is in a recovery phase and that the measures will allow it to thrive, invest and grow across the UK in Germany.

In a statement, CEO Alison Brittain said: “Our teams have worked very hard to reopen our hotels and restaurants and we are now firmly in the ‘restore’ phase of our response to the covid-19 crisis.

'Some very difficult decisions'

"Our performance following the reopenings has been ahead of the market, however, it has been clear from the beginning of this crisis that even as restrictions are eased and hospitality businesses such as ours reopen their doors, that demand would be materially lower than FY20 levels for a period of time. Given this backdrop, we have already taken extensive action to protect the business, retain financial flexibility and position it for long-term success.

"We continue to work hard to ensure that we emerge from the crisis with a more flexible operating model and a stronger, more resilient business.

The CEO added that with demand for travel remaining subdued, was forced to make "some very difficult decisions" and that it would today enter into a consultation process that could result in up to 6,000 redundancies in the UK, "of which it is hoped that a significant proportion can be achieved voluntarily."

She added: "Maintaining our financial flexibility alongside our leading operating model and powerful brand will allow Whitbread to pursue enhanced long-term structural growth opportunities both in the UK and Germany. This will leave us in a position of strength to continue to invest, increase market share, support our colleagues, guests and suppliers and create value for shareholders.”

The news comes amid widespread casualties in the world of fine dininga long list of CVA applications in the casual dining sector, and new restrictions on restaurants, bars and pubs set to come into force in England on Thursday.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd September 2020

'This is a regrettable but necessary step to ensure that we emerge from the crisis with a lower cost base, a more flexible operating model and a stronger more resilient business'