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Coronavirus: One in 10 of Wagamama group sites to remain closed

Photo: Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The high street may have been given the green light to reopen, with restaurants and pubs expecting to receive a boom in custom due to government support schemes, but one group has said 10% of their sites won’t be reopening until next year.

Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group (TRG) (RTN.L) laid out its timetable for a return to normality in a regulatory filing yesterday (10 July).

The filing detailed that one in 10 of its sites would not open until next year due to the fact "footfall is anticipated to remain considerably weak" until then.

These are restaurants located mostly at airports, the company said.

TRG did not make it clear what this would mean for the company’s staff, who have been on furlough since the coronavirus lockdown measures were brought in. The furlough scheme is due to wrap up in October.

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Other plans outlined by the group showed it plans to have approximately:

·    25% of restaurants reopened by the end of July;

·    60% by the end of August; and

·    90% by the end of September, with the reopening phasing varying by division.

TRG said last month that 125 Frankie & Benny's sites will not reopen at all, affecting 3,000 jobs and leaving the group with around 400 restaurants and pubs.

It said in the filing: “We are very pleased to be able to welcome back our customers and colleagues ensuring that their safety is paramount, whilst maintaining an enjoyable experience. 

“The diversified portfolio of the Group allows each division to adapt to the challenges of social distancing uniquely, whilst keeping the customer at the heart of every decision.”

News came this week in chancellor Rishi Sunak’s mini-budget that the government would encourage customers to return to restaurants with its “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme.

This gives customers up to 50% off their meal on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at participating restaurants in August.