Pizza Express to cut 1,300 more jobs but no more site closures

Casual dining chain, Pizza Express has confirmed it is to cut around another 1,300 jobs across its UK restaurants after the group's profit was hit by additional coronavirus restrictions.

The 370-site group said that its city centre outlets have been particularly hard hit by a recent fall in footfall, but no further sites would be closing.

The company stated, 'Having successfully and safely re-opened the significant majority of its UK restaurants earlier this year, PizzaExpress’ takeaway, delivery and retail channels have all performed strongly. However, customer demand for dine-in services has been more variable, particularly in recent weeks as COVID cases have risen and a range of trading restrictions have been introduced.

'With seating capacity in restaurants already reduced by around 25% for social distancing since the summer, PizzaExpress has seen customer footfall in the UK decline nationwide since September. Although some restaurants in suburban and out-of-town locations have continued to trade comparatively well, some city centre sites have been particularly hard-hit.

'Against this backdrop, and particularly given the expectation that footfall will continue to be affected during the winter months and beyond, the company has had to make the difficult decision to reduce the size of its restaurant teams. It is expected that 1,300 roles will be affected across all of the 370 PizzaExpress UK restaurants, through a combination of voluntary and compulsory redundancies.

'Taking this decision now will help PizzaExpress manage the challenges expected this winter while continuing to serve customers across the UK in its restaurants and at home.'

The news comes after the company announced in August that it would close 73 sites and axe 1,300 jobs.

Earlier this year, Pizza Express had finalised a proposal to reduce costs via a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

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.'