The closures equate to about 2.5% of Greene King’s 3,100-strong estate and the 800 potential job losses is around 2.1% of its 38,000 employees.
The Morning Advertiser understands while 800 of its team members are impacted by the closures, the company is looking to redeploy them in other parts of the business.
A spokesperson for Greene King said: “The continued tightening of the trading restrictions for pubs, which may last another six months, along with the changes to Government support was always going to make it a challenge to reopen some of our pubs.
"Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to not reopen 79 of our pubs and restaurants. About one-third will be closed permanently and we hope to be able to reopen the others in the future. We are working hard with our teams to try and find them a role in another of our pubs wherever possible.
“We urgently need the Government to step in and provide tailored support to help the sector get through to the spring and prevent further pub closures and job losses.”
Redundancies in sector
Fellow large pub operator JD Wetherspoon (JDW) also revealed a number of jobs were at risk in its airport pub estate.
Pub staff JDW's airport sites were told a possible 400 to 450 roles are at risk of redundancy due to a drop in passenger numbers, it has announced.
This comes just weeks after the pub giant informed head office staff a possible 110 to 130 roles were at risk and claimed at that time, no staff in its sites would be impacted.
The Greene King news follows the company announcing its tenanted and leased arm Pub Partners has recorded its highest number of new applications across this summer.
From the middle of June to the middle of August, 254 people applied to run a pub and at the height of lockdown – between 24 March and 22 June – 108 applications were submitted. From 22 June to 16 August, this rose to 254, which was more than double the same period last year.
The figures are something Greene King has put down to more targeted advertising on social media and specialised websites.
Furthermore, the company reported losses of more than £270m in the 52 weeks to 26 April 2020 in a trading update.
Revenue was £1,919m – a drop of 13.4% compared to the previous year with declines recorded in all revenue generating areas.
The firm’s pub company arm was hit the hardest with revenue down 13.5% to £1,556.3m due to a combination of competitive marketing conditions, tough comparators and poor weather.
Total revenue in Greene King Pub Partners was £157.9m – a drop of almost 17% driven by a decline in average pub numbers of 19.5% as well as a like-for-like drink income drop of 13%.