Deliveroo, Pizza Hut and Pret bosses send urgent plea to PM as coronavirus lockdown eases

Deliveroo, Pizza Hut and Pret bosses send urgent plea to PM as coronavirus lockdown eases

Those backing the call represent more than 1,000 restaurants across the UK, include Itsu founder and CEO Julian Metcalfe, Pret A Manger CEO Pano Christou, wagamama CEO Emma Woods and General Manager of Pizza Hut Neil Manhas. Despite Boris Johnson’s initial stages of easing the lockdown, the restaurant bosses warn the crisis for the UK hospitality industry is far from over with thousands of restaurants facing bankruptcy due to ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19.

A survey by Deliveroo of small and independent restaurants, conducted soon after lockdown restrictions were introduced, showed 52 percent believed they would be forced to permanently close within the next three months if the current situation continued.

Unless additional Government support is provided, the signatories warn that the shuttered restaurants in towns and cities across the country will be a permanent reminder of the damage the coronavirus pandemic has done.

Deliveroo’s research shows that 75 percent of partners are concerned about making a profit while necessary social distancing requirements remain in place, because they will have to operate at reduced capacity.

They say the required social distancing measures, combined with a challenging economic environment and changed consumer behaviour, will make it incredibly difficult for restaurants to reopen, let alone break even.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak saves UK economy! Unemployment rate holds steady in new ONS data

The letter asks for tax relief for restaurants, alongside help with rents and staffing costs.

It also asks for the government to launch a campaign aimed at communicating the facts to the public about food safety and championing the role of local restaurants in helping to boost the economy.

Deliveroo CEO and founder Will Shu, said: “We are proud to be part of the UK’s restaurant sector, which contributes so much to the UK economy and local communities and is one of the most diverse and vibrant in the world.

“That is why we are urging the Government to implement this package of measures to ensure that the UK’s amazing restaurant industry survives and then thrives.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the trade association UKHospitality , said: “Restaurants have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Household name brands on every high street have been closed and many will be operating at well below capacity once lockdown ends.

“These businesses provide employment and are great social hubs in every region.

“As these proposals from Deliveroo and their partner restaurants show, restaurants need urgent support from the Government so that they can help rebuild economies and give people some much-needed enjoyment.

“Without it, some will close permanently and people’s jobs will be lost.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics today revealed that people on work payrolls decreased by 600,000 in the time between February and April.

The data also showed the unemployment rate held steady—bucking economists expectations of a big drop.

This is due to the furlough scheme, but economists expect unemployment to rise when that scheme comes to an end.

Published at Tue, 16 Jun 2020 12:02:00 +0000