Thousands of jobs are at risk at Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn, as the group warned the coronavirus crisis will continue to hammer the demand for travel.
Up to 6000 workers could be made redundant at the company, which also owns the Beefeater pubs and Brewers Fayre chains, as its chief executive conceded “some very difficult decisions” had to be made.
Whitbread expects the jobs to go by the end of the year but it said the vast majority of its 900 hotels and 350 restaurants would remain open.
The firm said it hoped a “significant proportion” of the cuts could be made through voluntary redundancy and the lowering of contracted hours for some staff.
It said lack of demand for bookings and the winding down of the government’s furlough scheme had forced the cuts.
Alison Brittain, chief executive of Whitbread, said: “With demand for travel remaining subdued, we are now having to make some very difficult decisions, and it is with great regret that today we are announcing our intention to enter into a consultation process that could result in up to 6000 redundancies in the UK, of which it is hoped that a significant proportion can be achieved voluntarily.”