August 13, 2020

Coronavirus: Wagamama and Frankie & Benny's owner says one in 10 sites won't reopen this year

July 10, 2020

The company behind Wagamama and Frankie & Benny's has warned that one in 10 of its sites will not reopen this year.

The Restaurant Group said the sites, which are mostly at airports, will open in 2021 at the earliest because "footfall is anticipated to remain considerably weak" until then.

It is not clear what this means for staff at the affected restaurants, as the government's furlough scheme is due to end in October.

Of the group's other sites, one in four will be open by the end of this month and the rest are expected to be open by the end of September.

The group's share price closed down 2.24% on Friday.

The Restaurant Group told investors: "We are very pleased to be able to welcome back our customers and colleagues, ensuring that their safety is paramount, while maintaining an enjoyable experience.

"The diversified portfolio of the group allows each division to adapt to the challenges of social distancing uniquely, while keeping the customer at the heart of every decision."

Last month, The Restaurant Group announced that 125 Frankie & Benny's sites would not reopen at all, affecting 3,000 jobs and leaving the group with around 400 restaurants and pubs.

Friday's trading update comes just days after the government announced its "Eat Out To Help Out" scheme, which gives diners up to 50% off their meal at participating restaurants - and on certain days - during August.

But it comes as a survey by the Office for National Statistics found that 60% of adults would not yet be comfortable eating indoors at a restaurant.

The poll of 1,788 adults in Britain was conducted between 2-5 July, the week when pubs and restaurants were able to reopen in England after the coronavirus lockdown.

Women were more likely than men, and older people were more likely than younger people, to feel uncomfortable, the ONS said.

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