Whitbread set to exit sites and shed 1,500 jobs

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Cost savings: Whitbread has seen a reduction in footfall of ‘branded restaurant’ guests (Credit: Getty/ deepblue4you)
Cost savings: Whitbread has seen a reduction in footfall of ‘branded restaurant’ guests (Credit: Getty/ deepblue4you)

Related tags Whitbread Brewers fayre Beefeater Premier inn Finance

Whitbread, which operates pub-restaurant brands Beefeater and Brewer’s Fayre, is set to put 126 sites on the market and cut 1,500 UK jobs.

The group added it had made cost savings of £50m in its 2024 financial year, ended 2 March 2023, and has launched a new efficiency programme to deliver £150m of cost savings over the next three years.

It said its ‘accelerating growth plan’ (AGP) would include optimisation of its food and beverage (F&B) offer to enhance the proposition for its Premier Inn hotel guests and increase efficiencies through converting 112 lower-returning branded restaurants into new hotel rooms having first transferred the delivery of F&B to an integrated restaurant and exiting 126 lower-returning branded restaurants.

It added the sites will continue to operate as they do now so they can be sold as going concerns and it has already agreed to sell 21 of these restaurants for £28m.

Subject to consultation

Whitbread stated: “AGP will result in the reduction of around 1,500 roles out of a total UK workforce of 37,000.

“While these plans are still subject to consultation, we will seek to find alternative opportunities wherever possible through the roles created by this plan and our existing recruitment process that makes c15,000 hires each year.”

The plan, which will unlock 3,500 new room extensions and reach at least 97,000 open rooms in the UK by the end of FY29 will require about £500m of investment over the next four years, which will be funded through the group’s existing annual capital expenditure programme.

The group said: “While our UK hotel performance has gone from strength-to-strength, the performance of some of our branded restaurants has been impacted by a reduction in footfall from non-hotel guests with the result that they have struggled to meet their targeted levels of return.”

Outstanding set of results

The report highlighted group statutory revenue grew by 13%, driven by strong growth in the UK and continued progress in Germany while Premier Inn UK had seen total accommodation sales up 12%; RevPAR (revenue per available room) up 10% with total accommodation sales 3.1 percentage points.

Adjusted profit before tax was up 36% to £561m (FY23: £413m) while adjusted EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, amortisation and restructuring or rent costs) was up 19% to £1,057m (FY23: £888m).

Whitbread chief executive Dominic Paul said: “We have delivered an outstanding set of results in FY24, led by the strength of our UK hotels business.

“In addition to our strong commercial programme, we plan to optimise our F&B offer at a number of our sites to unlock up to 3,500 room extensions that will enhance the service for our hotel guests and deliver increased operational efficiencies.

“We recognise our transition will impact some of our team members so we will be providing support throughout this process and we are committed to working hard to enable as many as possible of those affected to remain with us.”

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