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Haverhill restaurant's future at threat after parent company announces closure plans

The owners of the Frankie & Benny's chain of restaurants has announced it plans to close 125 of its outlets, with the one in Haverhill rumoured to be among those to go.

The chain had already been struggling before it was forced to shut all of its restaurants at the end of March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But yesterday, the Restaurant Group plc (TRG) announced a proposal to reduce the size of its Leisure estate and rental cost base by the implementation of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

Frankie and Benny's in Haverhill
Frankie and Benny's in Haverhill

If approved, the CVA would result in 125 Frankie & Benny's being closed, with the remaining 85 restaurants being subject to a reduction in rental costs and revised lease terms.

It has not been officially announced if the restaurant in Haverhill, adjacent to Cineworld on Ehringshausen Way, will be among those to close.

Today a spokesman for TRG said no confirmation of which restaurants will be listed for closure will be made until June 29.

He said: "There will be a list but not until June 29 which is the date when the CVA us being approved or not approved.

"At that point we will release a list."

The CVA arrangements will have no impact on TRG's Wagamama, Airport Concessions and Pub operations.

Assuming the CVA is approved and successfully implemented, this will leave a remaining trading estate in the Group's Leisure business of approximately 160 sites.

Andy Hornby, TRG chief executive said:"The issues facing our sector are well documented and we have already taken decisive action to improve our liquidity, reduce our cost base and downsize our operations.

"The proposed CVA will deliver an appropriately-sized estate for our Leisure business to ensure we are well positioned despite the very challenging market conditions facing the casual dining sector.

"I would like to wholeheartedly thank all of my TRG colleagues for their continued understanding and extraordinary commitment during this unprecedented period."

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation (BPF) said:"These situations are never easy, particularly now for the retail and hospitality businesses on our high streets at the sharp end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Property owners, however, need to take into consideration the impact on their investors, including the millions of people whose savings and pensions are invested in commercial property, as they vote on any CVA proposal.

"The Restaurant Group and Alix Partners engaged with the BPF before launching this CVA proposal.

"This has provided us an opportunity to improve understanding of property owners' interests and concerns, but ultimately it will be for individual property owners to decide how they will vote on the CVA."

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