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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 28th Sep 2020 - Pizza Hut Restaurants receives CVA approval
Pizza Hut Restaurants receives CVA approval: Pizza Hut Restaurants, the UK dine-in franchise business of the global Pizza Hut brand, has had its company voluntary arrangement (CVA) approved by creditors. The deal means 29 Pizza Hut restaurants will shut, with 450 jobs at risk, while a further 215 will keep trading, saving 5,000 jobs. It will also see the company pay reduced rent levels across much of the estate. A Pizza Hut Restaurants spokeswoman said: “We are delighted to have reached such a constructive position in partnership with our landlords and creditors. We appreciate the support of everyone involved and this outcome provides us with a strong platform to secure the long-term future of the business including more than 5,000 jobs and more than 200 restaurants. Our focus is now ‘business as usual’, supporting all of our team members and continuing to provide a covid-safe restaurant experience for our guests.” Earlier this month, Pizza Hut said it put forward the CVA proposals because “sales were not expected to fully bounce back until well into 2021” despite a quick and safe reopening of sites. The 29 restaurants that will close are Basingstoke Retail Park; Brighton (city centre); Bury St Edmunds; Cambridge, Regent Street; Cardiff, Culverhouse Cross; Chelmsford, Moulsham Street; Croydon, North End; Cumbernauld; Dunstable; Glasgow, Great Western Retail Park; Grantham; Gravesend; Huddersfield, John William Street; Leicester, Haymarket; London, Leyton Mill; London, Stratford; Maidenhead; Maidstone; Newcastle-under-Lyme; Oxford; Plymouth Royal Parade; Salisbury; Scarborough; Sheffield, High Street; Sheffield, Penistone Road; Stafford; Thornton Cleveleys; Weston-Super-Mare; and Worcester. Pizza Hut Restaurants is a separate company to the Pizza Hut UK business, which is focused on food delivery from a further 380 sites.

Andy Burnham – 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants ‘doing more harm than good’: and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has argued the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants is doing “more harm than good”. He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme the move was “counter-productive”. He said: “There needs to be an urgent review of the emerging evidence from police forces across the country. My gut feeling is this curfew is doing more harm than good. It creates an incentive for people to gather in the streets, or more probably, to gather in the home – and that is the opposite of what our local restrictions here are trying to do. So I don’t think this been fully thought through, to be honest.” Burnham said in Manchester at the weekend, the supermarkets were “packed to the rafters” after 10pm with people buying alcohol so they could continue drinking after the pubs had closed. He added the 10pm closing time was damaging to bars and restaurants, which had taken “massive steps” to make themselves covid-secure. Asked if he thought the 10pm rule should be abandoned, he replied: “My gut feeling would say it probably should.”

Houses of Parliament makes U-turn on allowing 10pm drinking after outcry: A legal loophole that allowed MPs to drink at the Houses of Parliament after 10pm has been sewn up after public and sector outrage. Despite the curfew that prevents operators from opening beyond 10pm, MPs were able to enjoy a beer after hours at the Houses of Parliament. The bars on the parliamentary estate were exempt from the government’s early closing time rules. Additionally, bars were not required to take the details of drinkers for the track-and-trace scheme. The loophole took the form of said watering holes to be a “workplace canteen” so they “may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food”. Night-Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord tweeted before the U-turn: “Parliament’s own bar has been made exempt from the 10pm curfew and doesn’t have to take down anyone’s details. I’d like to say I’m surprised... but I’m really not.”

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