Pandemic pain sees over 800 branded sites close

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Pandemic pain sees over 800 branded sites close

Related tags: Coronavirus, lockdown, Restaurant, Closure

More than 800 branded restaurants, bars and coffee shops have closed since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, new research shows.

Data compiled for the Evening Standard​ shows that when administrations and Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) are included, chains with 6231 outlets have been affected.

This compares with 593 closed during the two previous years, which included the one-off corporate shakeups at Patisserie Valerie and The Restaurant Group (TRG) accounting for nearly 150 closures.

Casual dining chains have been particularly badly hit and include 185 TRG closures; 91 from the former Casual dining Group (now The Big Table); 75 from Azzurri Group; and 73 from Pizza Express.

Independent and family-run sites have also closed in much larger numbers during the period.

Many private equity investors in the sector have been wiped out by the pandemic, including entrepreneurial management teams with stakes in their businesses.

Sustained calls have been made for the Government to offer the sector more targeted financial support to help see it through the ongoing Coronavirus restrictions in England.

Following the announcement of the latest national lockdown, the Treasury offered businesses a one-off grant worth up to £9,000​, available alongside the current monthly grants for closed firms that's worth up to £3,000.

Last week, D&D London Chairman and CEO Des Gunewardena wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking the Government to properly compensate businesses forced to close​ by the Coronavirus.

In the letter he described the Government’s additional support of £9,000 per venue to businesses as 'wholly inadequate' and revealed that the pandemic is costing the company £2.5m per month of closure even after rent negotiations and business rates relief.

Gunewardena asked the Government to consider a number of proposals, including increasing the property grant to 50% rateable value with no cap, which he said will make a 'meaningful contribution' to D&D’s ongoing lockdown losses and towards settling 'substantial' rent liabilities.

He also called for removing the required employer contributions to cover pensions and National Insurance, as was the case during the first lockdown, and the re-instation of the Job Retention Bonus of £1,000 per member of staff.

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