Greggs and KFC have joined a growing number of food giants to close their stores over coronavirus. All 2,000 Greggs outlets will shut from the end of business today, with KFC closing in the UK and Ireland by tomorrow. Greggs said operating a takeaway service was not enough to maintain social distancing, while KFC announced…
Greggs and KFC have joined a growing number of food giants to close their stores over coronavirus.
All 2,000 Greggs outlets will shut from the end of business today, with KFC closing in the UK and Ireland by tomorrow.
Greggs said operating a takeaway service was not enough to maintain social distancing, while KFC announced that it was aiming to ‘protect the wellbeing’ of staff and guests – and that it would try to prevent its chicken being wasted.
In a statement on Twitter, Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside wrote: ‘We’ve been doing everything we can to keep our shops open and everyone safe but it has become clear that to help us all maintain social distance we need to go further and close all of our shops completely.
‘So, we have made the difficult decision to close all of our shops on Tuesday March 24.’
The closures follow a host of major restaurant chains shutting down amid the escalating Covid-19 crisis, including McDonalds, Nando’s, Costa Coffee and various others. Wagamamas also said it would also close its doors from 9pm on Monday, ending all takeaways and deliveries across its 150 sites.
For the latest coronavirus updates and coverage in the UK and around the world click here.
Read the latest updates: Coronavirus news live.
Minutes after the Greggs announcement, in another tweeted statement, KFC wrote: ‘Restaurants will begin closing from now. They will all close by Wednesday March 25 until further notice.
‘We’ve decided, along with our franchise partners, to begin closing our restaurants to help protect the wellbeing and safety of our teams and of our guests.’
It went on: ‘We serve fresh, quality food, so we’re working really hard to prevent as much going to waste as possible.
‘Over the coming days, we’ll find safe and efficient ways to distribute any unused food – which will include working with our longstanding Food Donation Scheme partners to make sure we’re giving to those who need it most.
‘This is already underway in cities across the country.’
The company – which shot to prominence with its vegan sausage rolls – said more updates would follow and urged its customers to ‘stay safe and look after each other’. It also said a planned £40 million handout to shareholders and a share buying scheme have been shelved, adding ‘we intend to maintain employment of colleagues at full contract hours for as long as is practicable’.
It did not immediately confirm what its policy on staff pay would be, while Greggs said only that it would ‘continue supporting’ staff on full contracts.
The announcements come despite an unprecedented package of financial introduced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week which aimed to keep businesses open.
The government had ordered restaurants, pubs and clubs to shut but allowed them to remain open as takeaways. Primark, John Lewis, Cineworld and a host of of Italian restaurant chains are also shutting.
Greggs’ Mr Whiteside continued: ‘First and foremost, thank you to our amazing colleagues for the hard work they have been putting in every day.
‘They live and breathe the Greggs spirit and we couldn’t have got through these challenging times without their unwavering positivity and cooperation.
‘While we are closed, we will continue supporting our colleagues with full contract hours for as long as we are able although we will need to keep this under review as the situation develops.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.