Whitbread to cut 6,000 jobs

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Up to 6,000 jobs cut: 'these changes create a more flexible labour model that can adapt with changes in the demand environment going forward,' Whitbread said of redundancy proposals
Up to 6,000 jobs cut: 'these changes create a more flexible labour model that can adapt with changes in the demand environment going forward,' Whitbread said of redundancy proposals

Related tags: MA500, Finance, Legislation, Coronavirus, Jobs, Pubco + head office

The operator behind brands such as Brewers Fayre, Beefeater and Premier Inn has announced that as many as 6,000 members of staff could face redundancy following a collapse in sales during the coronavirus crisis.

The business currently employs in the region of 35,000 workers across the UK meaning that more than one-in-six will lose their jobs. 

According to reports in The Guardian​, Whitbread is also close to cutting 15% to 20% of jobs at its head office, a further 150 positions.

The PLC, which said it had begun consultations with staff and hoped the majority of cuts could be made voluntarily, revealed that sales during the first half of its financial year to 27 August slipped by almost 80% due to the forced closure of most sites. 

This comes despite the hospitality giant reporting in August that its total UK sales had improved to just 38.5% down year-on-year with its accommodation division said to be performing ahead of the market and its restaurants "boosted by the positive impact of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme". 

However, Whitbread drew up redundancy plans amid pessimistic footfall forecasts as the Government prepares to introduce new restrictions on the hospitality sector – such as a 10pm curfew​ on pubs, bars and restaurants as well as mandatory table-service only – to tackle a resurgence in Covid-19 infection rates. 

The company also cited the looming conclusion of the Job Retention Scheme, which is due to be wound down completely at the end of October.

"These changes create a more flexible labour model that can adapt with changes in the demand environment going forward,” Whitbread said of its proposals. 

"Our priority is to ensure that the process is fair and that impacted colleagues are supported throughout"

In addition to running 800 Premier Inns across the UK – boasting 76,000 rooms – Whitbread also operates more than 400 venues under its Brewers Fayre, Beefeater, Cookhouse & Pub and Table Table brands. 

The former brewer, which in 1968 reached a deal to brew Heineken under licence, offloaded its breweries and pubs in 2001 to focus on its estate of hotels and restaurants.

Related topics: Other operators

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