JD Wetherspoon is to cut around a third of jobs at its head office as it seeks to cut costs amid falling pub and restaurant sales during the coronavirus pandemic.
The pub chain said between 110 and 130 of the 417 people employed at its office locations throughout the UK could lose their jobs, although no firm decisions have yet been taken.
Pub workers will not be affected by the changes, Wetherspoons said.
Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “The decision is mainly a result of a downturn in trade in the pub and restaurant industry generally, a reduction in the company’s rate of expansion and a reduction in the number of pubs operated from 955 in 2015 to 873 today.
“All head office employees will be affected by the process, with the exception of those working directly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Hospitality businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic which saw them forced to close their doors for weeks before being allowed to re-open with social distancing measures in place last month.
Pizza Express, Pret a Manger, Carluccio’s and Bella Italia owner Casual Dining Group, are among chains to have announced job cuts in recent weeks.
Mr Hutson added: “The company will listen to suggestions from staff to help avoid or reduce the number of compulsory redundancies which are required.
“These include voluntary redundancy or early retirement, including an enhanced redundancy package to employees that volunteer, the option to transfer to a pub based position (where suitable positions are available), flexible working options, reduced working hours, unpaid periods of absence (including sabbaticals and study leave).”
Wetherspoons is among thousands of businesses to benefit from a range of government support for the sector, including the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme which offers diners up to £10 off a meal during August.
But the industry believes the measures will not be enough to prevent thousands more jobs being lost.
Job cuts have not been limited to the pub and restaurant sector. This week retailers including WH Smith, Dixons Carphone, Hays Travel and DW Sports have said they will cut around 6,000 staff between them.