PUB group Mitchells & Butlers is gearing up for a Super Saturday re-opening, but admits it is concerned about the risks to staff from the virus - and from consumer behaviour.
In the half-year it plunged to a loss of £121 million, unsurprising since its 1745 pubs were shut during lockdown, which accounts for four weeks of today’s figures. A fall in property value also impacted the results.
The business behind All Bar One, O’Neill’s and Harvester among other expects custom to return but acknowledges they will want reassurance about health and safety.
“We will be transparent with guests as to these measures such that they can trust in us,” said M&B, which added: “Equally some consumers may not heed the measures put in place to restrict the spread of the virus, potentially putting our team members and other guests at risk.”
Prior to Covid-19, M&B was going fell, with sales inching up. It has already re-opened its bars in Germany and is confident that experience will be helpful here.
Sales in Germany are running at 70% of what they were before.
“The business was performing very well before the enforced closure in response to Covid-19,” chief executive Phil Urban said.
Rivals Greene King have delayed re-opening until next week.
M&B shares were steady at 193p.