Firm behind brands including Harvester, All Bar One and O’Neill’s consulting on redundancies

The hospitality firm behind brands including Harvester, All Bar One and O’Neill’s is reportedly beginning redundancy consultations with staff as the impact of the virus on the sector continues to bite. 

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Mitchells and Butlers, which also owns the Toby Carvery brand, employs some 44,000 across 1,700 pubs and restaurants. It is currently unclear how many jobs may be at risk.

A spokesperson for the firm told the BBC: “Our industry is operating in exceptionally challenging and uncertain circumstances.

“While we have worked incredibly hard to make sites Covid-19 secure and keep staff and customers safe, we are facing significant difficulties from the recently introduced 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, new enforced closures and tapering government support that doesn’t go far enough.”

It comes after the government announced new support measures for businesses closed down by restrictions introduced to stem the spread of the virus. 

However while pubs and bars may be shuttered under the harshest local lockdown measures announced by the government, making them eligible for business grants and support to cover two thirds of staff wages, restaurants have been told to remain open.

The spokesperson added “With trading restrictions and uncertainty likely to continue for the foreseeable future, we strongly urge the government to step up the level of support it is offering to an industry which has been repeatedly singled out and taken the full brunt of restrictions.”

In September the firm reported total sales across the year had fallen 35 per cent due to store closures and sharp slump in demand amid widespread Covid-19 restrictions.

“The future remains both challenging and uncertain, with only this week a curfew and other additional restrictions being imposed on how and when we can operate,” the UK pub operator said at the time.

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