The Restaurant Group ‘to notify staff that some branches will not make it out of lockdown’

Frankie & Benny’s

Staff at some branches owned by The Restaurant Group will today be informed that their workplaces will not reopen, it has been claimed.

The owner of Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s will reportedly tell staff that a “large number” of its outlets will no longer trade after lockdown.

The BBC said that it had seen an email to staff notifying them that many sites are “no longer viable to trade and will remain closed permanently.”

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Staff will be told if their sites will remain shut by email by the end of today, it added.

“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 email said.

The message was sent to managers in the group’s Leisure Division, which includes more than 200 Frankie & Benny’s outlets. The BBC said it was not yet clear which ones will be shut, or how many.

Those currently working in sites that are due to stay closed were told: “Unfortunately, unless there are any suitable alternative roles identified, it’s likely your role will be made redundant.”

TRG’s Leisure division has been under pressure for some time. Earlier this year it announced plans to close up to 90 restaurants by the end of 2021.

Bosses previously labelled the market place as “challenging” for its leisure business with “chronic overcapacity” in the sector and significant cost pressures particularly due to labour costs. It also occupied dozens of “structurally unattractive” locations.

In March, TRG revealed that three quarters of its 80-strong Tex-Mex dining chain Chiquito would remain closed permanently as it fell into administration.

Executive directors at The Restaurant Group have also forfeited bonuses collectively worth more than £200,000 and taken temporary pay cuts as the company battles the coronavirus fallout.

The Restaurant Group operates more than 600 restaurants. Outside of its Leisure division, it operates pubs, concessions and the Wagamama brand.

The Restaurant Group declined to comment.

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Andrew Seymour

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