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Burger King UK’s chief executive Alasdair Murdoch warned the company could shut up to 10 percent of its outlets which would be as many as 53 stores as a result of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus crisis. The closures could lead to 1,600 job losses.
Mr Murdoch told the BBC’s Newscast: “We don’t want to lose any [jobs].
“We try very hard not to, but one’s got to assume somewhere between five percent and 10 percent of the restaurants might not be able to survive.
“It’s not just us – I think this applies to everyone out there in our industry.”
Only about 370 of the chain’s 530 UK stores have reopened since the nation went into lockdown.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday unveiled a £30 billion support package to save the UK’s economy.
The measures included an “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme in a bid to boost the hospitality sector.
But Mr Murdoch warned the Government’s plans do not go far enough to compensate restaurants for the combination of fixed costs and lost sales during the coronavirus outbreak.
He said: “I don’t think you can ever get over the top of this problem.”
Mr Sunak’s “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme provides 50 percent off – up to a maximum of £10 per head – meals at participating businesses across the UK every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during August.
The Chancellor told the Commons: “I can announce today that, for the month of August, we will give everyone in the country an ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ discount.
“Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday, will be 50 percent off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children.
“Businesses will need to register and can do so through a simple website, open next Monday.
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“Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days.”
Speaking this morning, Mr Sunak warned that jobs are at risk if economic activity does not return to normal.
He told Sky News: “We’ve moved through the acute phase of the crisis where large swathes of the economy were closed.
“We’re now fortunately able to safely reopen parts of our economy, that’s the most important thing that we can do to get things going.
“But we won’t know the exact shape of that recovery for a little while – how will people respond to the new freedoms of being able to go out and about again.
“We have to rediscover behaviours that we’ve essentially unlearned over the last few months.
“But unless activity returns to normal, those jobs are at risk of going which is why we acted in the way that we did.”
Restaurants, cafes and pubs have been badly hit by the coronavirus lockdown, with many staff placed on the Government’s furlough scheme.
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