Home » Family favourite pub chain to close more than 200 locations and axe 1,500 jobs

Family favourite pub chain to close more than 200 locations and axe 1,500 jobs

A FAMILY favourite pub chain is to close more than 200 locations and axe 1,500 jobs.

Whitbread plans to slash its chain of branded restaurants across the UK in favour of building more hotel rooms.

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Premier Inn owner Whitbread is to close more than 200 locations across the UK

The hotel and restaurant company has around 840 sites across the UK and owns brands including Premier Inn, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre.

It revealed the plans in its full year results – an update on its financial condition and operations – which came out today.

Whitbread said it plans to convert 112 restaurants into hotel extensions, while closing 126 “loss-making” venues.

It hopes the sales will be completed within the next two years and the restaurants will remain open as usual until they are sold.

If a site is losing a branded restaurant, a new integrated restaurant will be made within the hotel.

The move will leave Whitbread with 387 restaurants that are part of its hotels and 196 branded restaurants.

The hospitality chain said it has already agreed to sell 21 of these restaurants for £28million.

However, it’s unclear exactly which pubs and restaurants are earmarked for closure and where they are located.

The Sun has contacted Whitbread to find out and we will update this article once we hear more.

The group said the job cuts are still subject to consultation and come from its total UK workforce of 37,000 employees.

Some of the most unique Wetherspoons pubs in the UK

It said the move was part of a plan to “optimise” its food and drink offering to add more than 3,500 hotel rooms across its estate and increase “operational efficiencies”.

Dominic Paul, Whitbread chief executive, said: “We recognise that our transition will impact some of our team members so we will be providing support throughout this process and we are committed to working hard to enable as many as possible of those affected to remain with us.”

The cuts come after Whitbread’s pre-tax profit rose 21% to £452 million for the year ending February 29.

The Beefeater brand is owned by Whitbread

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The Beefeater brand is owned by WhitbreadCredit: Alamy
Brewers Fayre pubs are popular across the UK with families

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Brewers Fayre pubs are popular across the UK with familiesCredit: Andrew Barr – The Sun Glasgow

It follows reports that Whitbread was looking to speed up plans to sell hundreds of its pubs and restaurants.

The chain was said to have marked at least 250 of its 440 pubs and restaurants for sale, most of which are located close to Premier Inn hotels.

Earlier this year, The Sun revealed that over 7,000 pubs are expected to go bust in the next year.

Rising costs and fewer punters through the door has meant that four out of five pubs have seen their profits take a nosedive.

Which brands does Whitbread own?

Whitbread is a hospitality business and the owner of Premier Inn.

It has around 840 sites across the UK, including restaurants attached to its hotels and standalone venues.

Here is a full list of the brands that Whitbread owns:

  • Premier Inn
  • Hub by Premier Inn
  • Zip by Premier Inn
  • Beefeater
  • Bar+Block
  • Thyme
  • Cookhouse & Pub
  • Brewers Fayre
  • Table Table
  • Whitbread Inns

What is happening to the hospitality industry?

Many Food and drink chains have been struggling in recently as the cost of living has led to fewer people spending on eating out.

Businesses had been struggling to bounce back after the pandemic, only to be hit with soaring energy bills and inflation.

Multiple chains have been affected, resulting in big-name brands like Wetherspoons and Frankie & Benny’s closing branches.

Some chains have not survived, Byron Burger fell into administration last year, with owners saying it would result in the loss of over 200 jobs.

Pizza giant, Papa Johns is shutting down 43 of its stores soon.

Tasty, the owner of Wildwood, said it will shut sites as part of major restructuring plans.

The brand plans to close 20 loss-making restaurants after a “challenging” start to the year.

 Stonegate, has raised fears about its survival as it races to plug its debts.

Retailers closing stores in 2024

RETAILERS have been feeling the squeeze since the pandemic, while shoppers are cutting back on spending due to the soaring cost of living crisis.

High energy costs and a move to shopping online are also taking a toll, and many high street shops have struggled to keep going.

Here’s a list of all the big-name brands closing stores this year:

  • Argos – The brand announced plans to close 100 standalone UK branches last year as it looks to move away from the high street and focus on expanding its presence in supermarkets.
  • B&Q – The chain has over 300 shops across the UK, so chances are you have one near you, but some stores have closed in recent months.
  • Boots – The health and beauty chain announced that it would be closing 300 stores last July. Closures are ongoing and this will see the retailer’s estate reduced from 2,200 to 1,900 shops.
  • Clintons – Clintons mulled plans to close 38 shops in a bid to avoid insolvency late last year. We’ve listed the stores affected.
  • Costa Coffee – The caffeine giant has around 2,000 sites nationwide, so chances are you’ll have one near you. The chain has shut the doors to dozens of its sites recently. We’ve revealed which stores are due to close this year.
  • Iceland – The supermarket has more than 900 stores but closed nearly two dozen sites in 2023, and more selected shops are due to shut.
  • Lidl – The supermarket, which has 950 stores, is changing up shop locations, which has meant that some stores have to close. But the retailer is also looking to open 12 new supermarkets.
  • M&S – M&S, which runs 405 stores across the country, has been closing a string of branches across the country in a blow for shoppers. It’s not all bad news, though, because the chain also has big plans to open dozens of new shops as well.
  • Trespass – The firm announced in July last year that it was closing six branches, but more are on the way.
  • WHSmith – The retail giant, which runs over 1,100 stores, has shuttered eight stores since March 2023, but more are coming.

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