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Coronavirus: 3,000 jobs at risk as Frankie and Benny's owner axes 125 restaurants

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
·2-min read
A notice that Frankie & Benny's has closed during the covid-19 pandemic with government advice to closed all social gatherings such as restaurant must close until further notice
Frankie & Benny's owner The Restaurant Group announced plans to close at least 125 sites. (PA)

The owner of the Frankie & Benny’s restaurant chain has announced plans to close at least 125 sites, putting up to 3,000 jobs at risk.

The Restaurant Group (RTN.L) said a further 85 sites were also at risk, with their survival dependent on securing rent cuts and renegotiating leases.

The majority of sites affected will be Frankie & Benny’s restaurants, but other brands operated by the group’s ‘leisure’ arm are also likely to be affected. The company did not give a breakdown of closures by chain, but this branch of the business includes 226 Frankie & Benny’s sites, 13 Chiquito restaurants and 35 sites from other brands including Garfunkel’s, Coast to Coast and Joe’s Kitchen.

READ MORE: ‘Beers, BBQs and picnics’ ease pain for UK shops

The company confirmed on Wednesday it planned to use a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), a legal agreement for struggling companies that allows them to restructure the business. Such measures have become increasingly common in recent years as many UK high street retailers and restaurant chains have battled to survive.

Andy Hornby, chief executive of the Restaurant Group, said: “The issues facing our sector are well documented and we have already taken decisive action to improve our liquidity, reduce our cost base and downsize our operations.

“The proposed CVA will deliver an appropriately-sized estate for our leisure business to ensure we are well positioned despite the very challenging market conditions facing the casual dining sector. I would like to wholeheartedly thank all of my TRG colleagues for their continued understanding and extraordinary commitment during this unprecedented period.”

The wider company owns around 600 sites in total, but it said other parts of the business including Wagamama, pubs, and airport concessions for several brands would be unaffected by the plans.