Loungers, Fuller’s and BRG are the latest groups to announce closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loungers will close all 167 of its Lounge and Cosy Club sites as of 3pm this afternoon (20 March).
The group had anticipated the prospect of closure, but has said it remains confident in its ability to emerge from this period strongly.
“The Government has given clear guidance against the general public visiting cafes, bars and restaurants, yet has allowed us to remain open,” said Nick Collins, CEO. “This places Loungers and other leisure and wider hospitality sector operators in a difficult position, however, we feel we have a moral and social responsibility to play our part in helping defeat Coronavirus.”
“As much as we want to be a force for good in communities at this difficult time, we have a more pressing duty to protect our loyal teams and, in particular, the communities which they serve. In these circumstances, as an employer of over 4,000 people, I cannot stress how important it is for the Chancellor to announce meaningful support for all hospitality workers this afternoon, that does not disadvantage their employers.”
Fuller’s CEO Simon Emeny has announced the group has started the process of temporarily closing its managed pubs and hotels estate.
“The time has come to make the toughest of decisions and we’ve started the process of temporarily closing our entire Managed Pubs and Hotels estate. By Monday, all sites will be closed until further notice,” he said in a statement.
“As we navigate these difficult times, we promise our teams we will be fair to our people while protecting our business for the long term. We don’t know how long these measures will last but when the time comes our pubs and their teams will be ready, waiting and delighted to serve our customers and communities.”
Boparan Restaurant Group, the operator behind Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner and Slim Chickens, has announced the closure of all sites under its Giraffe and Ed’s brands.
“During very difficult times, we have taken the decision to temporarily close our restaurants to protect both our guests and team,” the company said on its social media. “Thank you for you love and support and we’ll be back soon.”
Its seven Slim Chickens restaurants, which all opened in the last two years, will remain open for the time being.
Smaller restaurant brands also continue to suffer.
Burger concept Patty & Bun has closed two of its sites, and will only be operating via takeaway, delivery and click and collect out of its remaining eight.
London-based coffee brand Urban Barista’s has taken a similar approach, temporarily closing its Middlesex Street, Victoria, Bounds Green and Devon House stores with immediate effect.
“In the meantime, we will continue to offer our epic coffee and our smashing food at our Wapping and Queensway locations. We will be focussing on takeaways and delivery of our Urban Baristas good vibes and daily coffee fix,” it said on its Instagram account.
Fish restaurant Lussmanns will also close all of its six regional restaurants. In an attempt to continue trading, the operator will be introducing an all-new delivery service for meals and supplies.
“Our suppliers are still able to provide the highest quality produce, our staff are keen to work and we want to help everyone eat well and stay healthy,” said founder Andrei Lussmann. “As you’ll appreciate, it will take a little time to implement our new delivery plan, but we’re working as quickly as we can.”
Premium causal dining brand Polpo announced the closure of its five restaurants last night.
A post on its Instagram said: “It is with a heavy heart that our team have decided that we will temporarily be closing the doors to all POLPO restaurants at this time.”
Meanwhile, several to-go and QSR restaurants have transitioned to a to-go only format.
Taco Bell, KFC, Itsu, Costa and Starbucks have all made the decision, among other measures, to close their seating areas.
Itsu and Starbucks have gone one step further, choosing to close select stores in its busiest locations.
“Most our Itsu shops are still open for takeaway (no dine in) and delivery,” Itsu said in a statement. “A few stores will be closed from today: Old broad street, New Fetter Lane, Lime Street, New Oxford Street & Strand 82. The teams will be helping out at other itsu shops today.”
A statement released by Starbucks on Wednesday read: “we’ve taken the proactive decision to progress to the next stage of protocols in the UK. This includes closing select stores including ones in areas where people typically gather in large groups – such as cinemas and recreation parks – and temporarily moving to a “to go” only model across the rest of our UK estate, starting tomorrow.”
Earlier this week, McDonalds and Greggs also removed the dine-in option.
Loungers, Fuller’s and BRG announce closures, to-go transitions continue
Loungers Fuller’s and BRG are the latest groups to announce the closure of their estate. Loungers will close all 167 of its Lounge and Cosy Club sites as of 3pm this afternoon (20 March). Fuller’s CEO Simon Emeny has announced the group has started the process of temporarily closing its managed pubs and hotels estate. And BRG will be closing all sites under its Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner brands. Several smaller operaters are also suffering, with brands like Patty & Bun, Lussmanns, Urban Barista’s and Polpo forced to make closures. Meanwhile, Taco Bell, KFC, Itsu, Costa and Starbucks have all made the decision, among other measures, to close their seating areas.