Frankie & Benny’s owner to permanently close 120 restaurants

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 | BUSINESS NEWS

The Restaurant Group, which owns chains including Frankie & Benny’s, Garfunkel’s and Wagamama, will permanently close 120 restaurants, as COVID-19 has prompted the company to accelerate its restructuring plan. The closures will primarily impact Frankie & Benny’s, with some Garfunkel’s restaurants also set to close.

In an email to site managers this week, The Restaurant Group (TRG) said: “Many sites are no longer viable to trade and will remain closed permanently. The COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted our ability to trade profitably, so we have taken the tough decision to close these restaurants now.”

It is thought that the closures will affect around 3,000 jobs among the company’s 22,000 staff, who are currently furloughed through the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The group operates around 600 outlets, including a number of pubs and airport concessions, which have been closed since the government announced coronavirus restrictions in March.

In March, TRG issued a profit warning and announced that 61 of its 80 outlets of Tex-Mex restaurant chain Chiquito would not reopen. The group also announced the permanent closure of London’s 11 Food and Fuel pubs. This led to around 1,500 jobs being lost.

TRG initially announced restructuring plans in September 2019, saying it would close around 88 Frankie & Benny’s, Garfunkel’s and Chiquito restaurants over six years. In February, this was brought forward to 2021, but it has now been prompted to expedite the process again and the outlets will not reopen once the COVID-19 lockdown ends.

Wagamama, which TRG acquired for £559 million in 2018, has restarted delivery from several of its 150 restaurants, which are expected to fully reopen in July under reshaped government guidelines. Wagamama will not be affected by the closures.

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