Casual dining chain Zizzi closed all its UK restaurants from 4pm yesterday – but will offer delivery from select stores in the meantime to soften the blow.
The 150-strong outfit confirmed the closures were only a temporary measure, but did not say when it expects the branches to open again.
Sister company, ASK Italian – which is also part of the £300m-a-year Azzurri Group – took the same action.
Zizzi managing director, Harry Heeley, called it a “difficult decision” but suggested the business had little choice in the circumstances.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers, team members and the wider communities surrounding our restaurants is our number one priority,” he explained. “Following the latest government guidance asking people to reduce social interaction where possible, we believe choosing to temporarily close our restaurant space is the right decision.”
Zizzi’s website indicates that more than 70 of its restaurants offer food for customers to collect, although Mr Heeley said only a “few” restaurants will continue to operate a takeaway and delivery service.
“We will be doing everything possible to look after our Zizzi teams during these tough and unprecedented times,” added Mr Heeley.
Other chains are also in the process of closing dine-in areas and switching to delivery, including Byron Burger.
“We have decided to close our eat-in restaurants and become Deliveroo-only for the time being,” explained a spokesperson. “This is a sad decision for us to make. We love nothing more than bringing people together over proper burgers and a proper good time. But, the health and wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and community always comes first.”