GBK and Azzurri appoint advisors as hospitality sector warns firms will fail without more Government support

Carluccios was the first one of the first casualties of this lockdown when it went into administration three weeks ago.

But across the UK restaurants are shut and losing money. Many were struggling before the coronavirus outbreak and the measures imposed by Government to contain it.

The restrictions will lift at some point but social distancing feels like it’s here to stay and no one who owns a restaurant is expecting business as usual for a very long time.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) have appointed Deloitte to advise on their options. Credit: PA

ITV News has learned that the owners of Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) have appointed Deloitte to advise on their options going forward.

Meanwhile FTI is advising the syndicate of banks who have loaned money to the Azzurri Group - which owns the Ask and Zizzi chains.

Between them GBK and Azzurri have almost 400 restaurants and employ 7500 staff. Both businesses were loss-making before this crisis began, neither was available for comment this evening.

Selections of the letter show the opening paragraphs and one of the six measures the group is calling for. Credit: UK Hospitality

UK Hospitality, which represents restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels, expects it will take 18 months before trade recovers, even if businesses are able to reopen soon.

It warns that many of its members will not survive without further financial help taxpayer support.

At the weekend the cabinet office minister Michael Gove indicated that pubs would be “among the last” to see restrictions lifted and may have to wait until christmas before reopening.

In a letter to Mr Gove, Kate Nicholls the CEO of UK Hospitality calls for the extension of the Government’s furlough scheme “for as long as closure is mandated” and more generous cash grants.

In the past two days companies have furloughed more than 2 million employees under the Chancellor's job retention scheme. Credit: PA

She also asks the government to offer businesses greater protection from evictions by their landlords and suggest it may become necessary for help paying rent.

The Treasury says it will keep the package of support on offer to businesses “under review” but insists the hospitality sector is already benefiting from “considerable support”.

Business rates have been written off for 12 months, VAT payments have been delayed, the Government is paying the wages of many bar and restaurant staff.

Earlier today HMRC confirmed that in the last two days companies have furloughed more than two million employees as part of the chancellor’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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