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Thu 29th Oct 2020 - PizzaExpress to cut 1,300 more jobs as it re-shapes teams
PizzaExpress to cut 1,300 more jobs as it re-shapes teams: PizzaExpress has announced a reduction in the size of its UK restaurant teams, which could affect 1,300 roles, as it “adapts to current market conditions” and prepares for 2021 and beyond. The company said it expected that 1,300 roles would be affected across all of its 370 UK restaurants, through a combination of voluntary and compulsory redundancies. This is on top of the 1,100 jobs lost through the closure of 73 of the group’s sites via a CVA process, which was approved by creditors earlier this month. The company said that taking this decision now would help it “manage the challenges expected this winter while continuing to serve customers across the UK in its restaurants and at home”. The company said: “Having successfully and safely re-opened the significant majority of its UK restaurants earlier this year, PizzaExpress’ takeaway, delivery and retail channels have all performed strongly. However, customer demand for dine-in services has been more variable, particularly in recent weeks as covid cases have risen and a range of trading restrictions have been introduced. With seating capacity in restaurants already reduced by around 25% for social distancing since the summer, PizzaExpress has seen customer footfall in the UK decline nationwide since September. Although some restaurants in suburban and out-of-town locations have continued to trade comparatively well, some city centre sites have been particularly hard-hit. Against this backdrop, and particularly given the expectation that footfall will continue to be affected during the winter months and beyond, the company has had to make the difficult decision to reduce the size of its restaurant teams.” Zoe Bowley, managing director at PizzaExpress, said: “Our aim throughout these extremely challenging times has been to keep our team members and customers safe and to retain jobs for as long as possible. As a leading employer in our sector, we see every day how this pandemic is having a profound impact on our industry, our business and on people’s lives. 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.” Last month, 89% of the group’s creditors supported its CVA proposals, which would enable it to close 73 uneconomic outlets, with the loss of up to 1,100 jobs. The company is set to be taken over by its bondholders after a sale process seeking potential buyers failed to drum up a competitive offer. The deal would involve Hony Capital, the private equity firm based in Beijing, handing over the keys to the restaurant chain via a debt-for-equity swap, although Hony is expected to retain control of PizzaExpress’ operations in mainland China.

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