PIZZA Express has confirmed plans to close 73 restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.
The pizza chain is the latest business to announce job cuts and store closures following the coronavirus crisis.
Pizza Express said its sales were hit by the temporary closure of all its restaurants due to lockdown, as well as the cost of reopening them.
It first announced plans to shut branches and cut jobs in August 2020, but these proposals have now been approved by creditors.
Pizza Express said 89% of those it owes money to voted in favour of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which will also see rents lowered at its existing restaurants.
A CVA doesn’t mean a company has gone bust – instead, it allows businesses that are struggling to look for cost-cutting ways to keep going.
Which Pizza Express restaurants are closing?
PIZZA Express has confirmed the following branches will close as part of its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA):
- Aberdeen – Belmont St
- Barnstaple – Three Tuns
- Birmingham – Corporation St
- Birmingham – Mailbox
- Bournemouth – Post Office Rd
- Bristol – Berkeley Sq
- Bristol – Regent St
- Bruton Place
- Charlotte St
- Dalton Park
- Dudley – Merry Hill
- Earls Court – Earls Ct Rd
- Edinburgh – Holyrood
- Fulham Palace Road
- Glasgow – Princes Square
- Hatch End
- Ipswich – Lloyds Ave
- Leeds – Crown St
- Leeds – Horsforth
- Melton Mowbray
- Milton Keynes – Hub
- New Brighton
- Newport – Isle of Wight
- Newport – South Wales
- Nottingham – Goosegate
- O2 Finchley
- Oxford – Oxford Castle
- Port Solent
- Reading – St Mary’s Butts
- Sheffield – Devonshire St
- Sheffield The Moor
- Southport – Old Bank
- Wardour St
- Whiteley Village
Pizza Express needed a minimum of 75% of creditors to vote in favour of the deal to give it the green light.
The restructuring will also see the company’s debt pile reduced from £735million to £319million, with some of the money it owes being written off.
Pizza Express currently has 355 branches open in the UK, with more than 30 due to reopen in the coming weeks.
It hasn’t confirmed when its restaurants will shut, but it’s told The Sun that these branches don’t include the 30 sites that have yet to reopen.
Restaurant and food chain job losses
A NUMBER of high-profile restaurant and food chains have announced job cuts following the coronavirus crisis.
- Zizzi owner Azzurri Group announced in July 2020 that it would permanently shut 75 branches, putting 1,200 jobs at risk
- Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group has proposed closing 125 branches, with 3,000 jobs on the line
- Byron Burger is shutting 31 restaurants, around half of its UK sites, with 600 jobs at risk
- Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge have announced the closure of 91 restaurants, with 1,900 jobs to go
- Pret a Manger is cutting 2,800 jobs with 30 stores to close
- Costa Coffee is axing 1,650 jobs – it hasn’t announced any store closures at this stage
- Upper Crust plans to make 5,000 out of its 9,000-strong workforce redundant
- Carluccio’s is cutting 1,000 jobs with 40 restaurants to shut
The chain was reported to be in financial difficulties in October 2019 after it ended the year with £1,122.5million worth of debt following a pre-tax loss of £55million.
Pizza Express is the latest in a growing line of restaurants to confirm job cuts and store closures in recent months.
Other chains to confirm branch closures include Zizzi owner Azzurri Group, which announced in July 2020 that it would permanently shut 75 branches.
Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group has also unveiled plans to shut 125 branches, while Byron Burger is shutting 31 restaurants; around half of its UK sites.
What are my redundancy rights?
BEFORE making you unemployed, your employer should still carry out a fair redundancy process.
You are entitled to be consulted on the redundancy lay-off first and to receive a statutory redundancy payment, as long as you’ve been working somewhere for at least two years.
How much you’re entitled to depends on your age and length of service, although this is capped at 20 years. You’ll get:
- Half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22,
- One week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41,
- One and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older.
Sadly, you won’t be entitled to a payout if you’ve been working for your employer for fewer than two years.
There should be a period of collective consultation as well as time for individual ones if your employer wants to make 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days or each other.
You are also entitled to appeal the decision by claiming unfair dismissal within three months of being let go.
In a statement, Pizza Express said: “The successful vote unlocks the company’s ability to actively address the challenges brought by Covid-19, securing over 9,000 jobs in the UK.
“Regrettably, the CVA proposes the closure of 73 restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.
“The directors of Pizza Express thank its creditors for their support during this period and look forward to ongoing partnership as the hospitality industry recovers to growth.”
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Boots, John Lewis, M&S, and WH Smith have also confirmed mass redundancies.
Gatwick has also announced plans to cut 600 jobs – almost a quarter of workers due to coronavirus.
While Ryanair has said it plans to axe 3,250 jobs, while British Airways has warned it needs to cut 12,000 jobs.