An ambitious plan that depends on its workers
Greggs has outlined a reopening plan in a letter to its near 25,000 staff, according to Big Hospitality. Chief executive Roger Whiteside suggests that its 2,000-plus stores could reopen by 1 July, with an initial 20 site pilot in Newcastle from 4 May and a further phased reopening in early June.
Whiteside writes that this is a “controlled trial” designed to evaluate the operational procedures necessary to keep staff and customers safe; the letter does not offer which measures will be in place from the start of the trial, or specifically how staff involved in that trial can ensure their safety is protected. He does, however, confirm that expected declining sales will mean the majority of staff will remain on furlough; along with Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme, Greggs received a £150 million government coronavirus loan in April.
Greggs, like Pret a Manger, KFC, and Burger King, all of which have brought back sites in recent days, describes itself as reliant on “volunteers” for these reopenings. One account of the company’s policy in the last days before lockdown contextualises what this might mean: a brand that has recently reinvented itself as a pop culture icon “still makes a profit in the same way as the self-styled bad guys of the food service industry — by overworking and underpaying its frontline staff.” With Whiteside noting that decline in sales, but planning to open all bakeries by the day that furlough support currently runs out, it remains to be seen what the company will do with staff who are not required to work. Reopening is dependent on those staff — and customers will be watching how it treats them in this phased plan. [Big Hospitality]
And in other news...
- The government’s new guidelines for the coronavirus job retention scheme will leave millions of restaurant workers short-changed.
- Supermarkets might be restocking, but online delivery slots can’t keep up.
- Meanwhile, Tesco boss Dave Lewis is heralding the return of the weekly shop. As long as it’s at Tesco! [BBC]
- An in-depth look at how novel coronavirus has, and will impact the U.K. economy. [Wired]
- A one-time stimulus package for dairy farmers could be on the table to avoid unnecessarily slaughtering 80,000 cows. [BBC]
- Studio ATAO has used its experimental salons programme to produce a guide to identifying, correcting, and eliminating tokenisation in the food media world. [Studio ATAO]
- Good tweet:
Irony boy nonsense twitter my local supermarket pic.twitter.com/RLVjKNQrkN— Megan (@mmegannnolan) April 27, 2020