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Whitbread confirms restaurant closures

Premier Inn owner Whitbread has confirmed that it is going ahead with the offloading of 126 of its under-performing restaurants, and cutting 1,500 jobs.

It was first reported in March that the operator behind brands such as Brewers Fayre and Beefeater would be getting rid of a number of sites, or converting them into additional Premier Inn hotel rooms.

In the company’s Preliminary Results Announcement, released today (30 April), it revealed the two prongs of its plan concerning these managed restaurants as part of an overall “optimisation” process:

“Converting 112 lower-returning branded restaurants into new hotel rooms having first transferred the delivery of F&B to an integrated restaurant.”

“Exiting 126 lower-returning branded restaurants; they will continue to operate as they do now so that they can be sold as going concerns and we have already agreed to sell 21 of these restaurants for £28 million.”

The preliminary results also shared that there would be a 4% reduction in the size of its workforce.

“AGP [the Accelerating Growth Plan] will result in the reduction of around 1,500 roles out of a total UK workforce of 37,000.”

It then stated that Whitbread would “seek to find alternative opportunities wherever possible” for those who lose their jobs.

“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,” said Whitbread chief executive Dominic Paul. “The short-term impact on our profit performance this year will be more than offset by an uplift from FY27 with further increases thereafter in both margins and returns as we open more of the new extensions.”

According to Whitbread, the AGP will increase the margins of its UK business, with a “one-off” £20-25m reduction to UK adjusted PBT (profit before tax and exceptional items), and, by FY27, an incremental adjusted PBT of £30-4om.

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