National restaurant groups start to shutter sites in face of pandemic

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

National restaurant groups start to shutter sites in face of pandemic

Related tags: Coronavirus, Casual dining

Major national branded restaurant groups Byron, Pho, Zizzi, ASK Italian and Brasserie Blanc have closed their sites to the public as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

More large groups are expected to announce closures over the coming days as they seek to protect customers and slash costs.

Pho and Byron are switching to delivery-only operating models, but BigHospitality understands that some sites will close completely if they aren’t suited to delivery or are close to another site that can offer delivery.

In a post on Instagram Pho wrote: “Following advice from the UK government we’ve had to make the difficult decision to temporarily close our doors to the public. However, we’re committed to serving our customers for as long as possible, which means you can order from Deliveroo from most of our restaurants.”

Both ASK Italian and Zizzi - which are both owned by the The Azzurri Group - say that “a few” of their restaurants will offer a takeaway service and food for delivery.

Brasserie Blanc is closing down its operations completely.

In many cases the closures will mean significant lay-offs, with non-contracted, non-salaried and casual posts the most likely to go.

While the majority of its sites appear to remain open for the moment, Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s owner Restaurant Group has dramatically cut its forecasts for the current financial year.

Fellow casual dining giant PizzaExpress has agreed a £70m loan with HPS Investment Partners to see it through a uniquely challenging period for the sector.

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Casual Dining

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