Pizza Express to cut 1,300 jobs as sales fall over coronavirus restrictions

Pizza Express will cut 1,300 jobs (Image: ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Pizza Express will cut 1,300 jobs after the number of people eating in its restaurants has fallen due to the coronavirus restrictions.

The company said the roles will be cut from its 370 UK restaurants through both compulsory and voluntary redundancies.

The move comes just two months after the restaurant chain revealed plans to axe 1,100 roles and close 73 of its restaurants.

It said no further restaurant sites will shut as part of its latest cuts, which will see job losses spread across restaurants.

The chain said its city centre sites have been “particularly hard-hit” by a recent slump in footfall, although a number of suburban and out-of-town locations have seen more resilient trading.

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Under the current rules all pubs, bars, restaurants and other venues in England must close by 10 pm.

Zoe Bowley, managing director at Pizza Express, said: “Our aim throughout these extremely challenging times has been to keep our team members and customers safe and to retain jobs for as long as possible.

“Unfortunately, the recent increase in Covid-19 cases is again causing footfall to decline across the UK.

“As this is expected to continue for some months, we sadly need to make changes that will impact more of our team members.

“Our people remain at the heart of our business and we are doing what we can to support those who are affected.

“We believe that this difficult decision will give us more resilience through the next six months and help us to continue serving our customers in our restaurants and at home in the years ahead.”

Pizza Express is majority-owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital.

Last month, Pizza Express creditors approved a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring deal, which it said would heavily reduce its debt pile and plough £144 million of new funding into the company.

A raft of chains, including Zizzi-owner Azzurri Group, Byron Burger, and Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group, have shut sites after being hit by the lockdown.