Bosses of some of the UK's biggest hospitality brands have asked chancellor Rishi Sunak for a nine-month rent holiday to help them survive the coronavirus crisis.
Signatories to a letter sent to Sunak, spearheaded by London Union chief executive Jonathan Downey, include the directors of high street brands Burger King, Pret, Caffè Nero, Nando's, Subway and Wahaca.
In the letter, Downey lays out a rescue plan that he says will save two million jobs in hospitality and won't cost the taxpayer anything: "This is a proposal for a nine-month #NationalTimeOut – a #NationalRentFree period for hospitality businesses, combined with a matching loan and interest payment postponement for landlords, as well as protection for them from covenant breach and debt security enforcement.
"This is a big idea that requires new legislation to enable businesses (commercial landlords and hospitality tenants), working together, to shape and create a national solution to the imminent threat of thousands of empty premises."
Downey told The Caterer last week that it had taken him "five days and 33 years of experience to put the proposal together".
The Hospitality Union founder said he believes the #NationalTimeOut proposal will also be welcomed by landlords who similarly would benefit from a nine-month pause on loan repayments against premises for which they are temporarily not receiving rent, and instead pushing the onus back onto the banks to cover debts.
Signatories to the letter include:
- Alasdair Murdoch, chief executive, Burger King
- Brandon Stephens, Founder Tortilla
- Karen Jones, executive chair, Prezzo
- Mark Selby, chief executive, Wahaca
- Des Gunewardena, chief executive, D&D London
- Michael Gardner, property director, Nando's
- Shamil Thakrar, chief executive, Dishoom
- Will Beckett, chief executive, Hawksmoor
- Nisha Katona, chief executive, Mowgli
- Marcello Distefano, managing director, San Carlo Group
- Andy Wenlock, managing director, Gordon Ramsay Group
- Pano Christou, chief executive, Pret
- Paul Campbell, chairman, GymBox
- Charlie McVeigh, chairman, the Breakfast Club
- Laura Harper-Hinton, Founder Caravan Restaurants
- Jyotin Sethi, chief executive, JKS Restaurants
- Simon Potts, chief executive, the Alchemist
- David Page, chairman, Franco Manca
- Peter Marks, chief executive, Deltic Group
- Arjun Waney OBE
- Jeremy Roberts, chairman, Living Ventures
- Gerry Ford, global chief executive, Caffè Nero
- Graham Cook, chief executive, All Star Lanes
- Colin Hughes, UK country director, Subway
Read an interview with Jonathan Downey in this week's issue of The Catererhere.
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