Pizza Hut Restaurants CEO Jens Hofma has told MCA keeping 48 restaurants operating as delivery-only kitchens was the “right thing to do”, by helping ease the pressure on supermarkets and feeding those in need.

The group has fully closed nearly 200 sites, but kept the select few open in residential areas following guidance from the government that delivery channels were required as food retailers and home delivery become overstretched.

Hofma said the move was not profitable, but gave much-needed food options to NHS and key workers, as well as the vulnerable and homeless.

He said: “We made the decision based on government guidance, and a clear statement that they were encouraging to continue operating to take the pressure off supermarket and home delivery service, which are over stretched

“We believe we are a key part of the supply chain, particularly for those who can’t leave their home or can’t cook at home

“Based on that, we decided to keep these stores trading for now.

“We wanted to do that right thing and provide a service to the community.”

Hofma said the relative simplicity of the food made it easier to remain open.

He said that while the majority of staff have been furloughed, the company was making efforts to keep in touch and support them through the shutdown through social networking platform Yammer.

He added: “Anyone can reach me personally. Communication is extremely transparent and fluid.

“It’s helping hold the team together even if we’re not together, and manage fears, anxieties and emotions during this very difficult period

“We feel we not only have responsibility to people’s material needs, but also their mental health, as they’re isolated at home, separated from the restaurant community that matters a lot to them. By continuing to communicate with them, they still have a sense of belonging and do not feel isolated.”