PIZZA Express has said it is cutting around 1,300 jobs across its UK restaurants as the impact of coronavirus continues to hit business.
The restaurant chain is not closing any more restaurants but instead slimming down its existing team.
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The job losses are on top of the 1,100 that are already at risk after the chain announced in September that it would be closing 73 restaurants.
Pizza Express said that despite sales improving over the summer, recent Covid restrictions has seen a drop in the number of diners visiting its restaurants.
This includes the 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants and a ban on households mixing indoors in Tiers 2 and 3 coronavirus lockdown areas.
The job cuts are expected to hit all 370 Pizza Express branches across the UK, through a round of voluntary and compulsory redundancies.
Which Pizza Express restaurants are closing?
IN September, the pizza chain announced it will be closed 73 branches. No new closures have been announced today.
These restaurants will be closing:
- Aberdeen – Belmont St
- Barnstaple – Three Tuns
- Birmingham – Corporation St
- Birmingham – Mailbox
- Bournemouth – Post Office Rd
- Bristol – Berkeley Sq
- Bristol – Regent St
- Bruton Place
- Charlotte St
- Dalton Park
- Dudley – Merry Hill
- Earls Court – Earls Ct Rd
- Edinburgh – Holyrood
- Fulham Palace Road
- Glasgow – Princes Square
- Hatch End
- Ipswich – Lloyds Ave
- Leeds – Crown St
- Leeds – Horsforth
- Melton Mowbray
- Milton Keynes – Hub
- New Brighton
- Newport – Isle of Wight
- Newport – South Wales
- Nottingham – Goosegate
- O2 Finchley
- Oxford – Oxford Castle
- Port Solent
- Reading – St Mary's Butts
- Sheffield – Devonshire St
- Sheffield The Moor
- Southport – Old Bank
- Wardour St
- Whiteley Village
In a company statement, the chain said that it was necessary to make these changes in order for it to survive the winter months when demand is expected to drop even further.
Zoe Bowley, managing director at Pizza Express, said: "Unfortunately, the recent increase in Covid-19 cases is again causing footfall to decline across the UK.
"As this is expected to continue for some months, we sadly need to make changes that will impact more of our team members.
"Our people remain at the heart of our business and we are doing what
we can to support those who are affected.
"We believe that this difficult decision will give us more resilience through the next six months and help us to continue serving our customers in our
restaurants and at home in the years ahead."
Capacity in restaurants have already been reduced by 25% since reopening in order to operate within government guidelines.
The Italian-inspired chain added that while some restaurants in out-of-town locations have continued to trade well, inner-city branches are suffering.
The drop in footfall can also be blamed on the government's work from home guidelines and a ban on theatres from reopening.
Earlier this year Pizza Express said its sales were hit by the temporary closure of all its restaurants due to lockdown, as well as the cost of reopening them.
Pizza Express said 89% of those it owes money to voted in favour of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which will also see rents lowered at its existing restaurants.
A CVA doesn't mean a company has gone bust – instead, it allows businesses that are struggling to look for cost-cutting ways to keep going.
The restructuring previously reported will also see the company's debt pile reduced from £735million to £319million, with some of the money it owes being written off.
The chain was reported to be in financial difficulties in October 2019 after it ended the year with £1,122.5million worth of debt following a pre-tax loss of £55million.
Pizza Express is the latest in a growing line of restaurants to confirm job cuts and store closures in recent months.
Other chains to confirm branch closures include Zizzi owner Azzurri Group, which announced in July 2020 that it would permanently shut 75 branches.
Frankie & Benny's owner The Restaurant Group has also unveiled plans to shut 125 branches, while Byron Burger is shutting 31 restaurants; around half of its UK sites.
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