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Over 22,000 Restaurant Workers Have Lost Their Jobs in the U.K. This Year

That’s almost double the numbers for the entirety of 2019

Diners sit on a patio outside a restaurant in London
Diners outside a restaurant still open
Xinhua/Getty Images

That’s nearly double the entirety of 2019

The novel coronavirus pandemic’s impact on restaurants will be multifarious, but the most immediate consequences are restaurant closures, and with them, mounting restaurant job losses. Over 22,000 restaurant workers have lost their jobs so far this year, according to research from ... The Centre for Retail Research, which lists 22,039 jobs lost in 2020, compared to 11,280 in the entirety of 2019.

Thus far, the majority of jobs lost are in casual dining chains, whose reliance on high footfall areas like shopping centres, leisure complexes, and city high streets and business models saddled with huge amounts of private equity debt have been shattered by COVID-19. According to the CRR, almost 14,000 people have lost their jobs in the casual dining sector, compared to almost 6,000 in independent restaurants; it doesn’t cite the source of the additional 2,500 or so jobs not covered in those categories. While these chains are able to restructure, close restaurants, and bounce around debts at speed, thus putting people out of work but “surviving,” independents are often left with the choice between staying open for as long as possible, or closing. Expect, therefore, that split to slowly reverse over the course of the pandemic, as a lack of meaningful rent intervention from the government slowly pushes more and more restaurants over the edge.

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