Coronavirus: Pizza Express says it will cut around 1,300 jobs in UK

Pizza Express has said it is cutting around 1,300 jobs across the UK – on top of 1,100 already announced in the summer.

The restaurant chain said recent trading had worsened in the face of tightened COVID-19 restrictions.

It made the announcement after creditors agreed a restructuring in September that the chain said had “secured” the future for its remaining 9,000 workforce.

That deal, under a so-called company voluntary arrangement, (CVA) resulted in the closure of 73 sites and unlocked £144m of new investment that had depended on the outcome of the vote.

Pizza Express, which had already been up for sale, confirmed on Thursday that no further restaurant closures were planned but it expected around 1,300 staff to lose out through voluntary and compulsory redundancies in a bid to cut costs.

The company said its city centre locations had taken the brunt of the dip in business as people are asked to work from home.

The wider casual dining sector was supported by the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August but remains among those battling for a future beyond the pandemic as uncertainty clouds demand.

A Sky News jobs tracker shows hospitality becomes the worst hit sector of the economy ahead of aviation and retail.

Managing director Zoe Bowley 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.

“As a leading employer in our sector, we see every day how this pandemic is having a profound impact on our industry, our business and on people’s lives.

“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.”

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