Will staff be kept on after restaurant chain announce closures?

Wildwood, an Italian restaurant based at Pioneer Square, was among the 18 forced to close as Tasty, which also runs sites under the Dim T brand, has undertaken a restructuring plan after a “challenging” start of the year.

On Tuesday (April 9), the hospitality group said its financial performance “continues to be inhibited by a tail of underperforming sites, despite efforts at improving operational performance”.

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There are two other Wildwood sites in Oxfordshire, in Didcot and Wantage, but these are not among the sites listed for closure.

The company has also said it is “working diligently” to retain as many staff members from the closed restaurants as possible but did not confirm if all staff will be offered new jobs.

Before the announcement of the mass closures, Tasty had 43 Wildwood restaurants in operation, six Dim-T pan-Asian restaurants, two non-trading sites and three sub-let venues.

A spokesperson for Tasty said: “We understand the impact of these difficult decisions but unfortunately they represent the steps needed to navigate a path through the challenges which are prevalent in our industry specifically, and the economy in general.

“We are confident that the changes will ensure the long-term viability of the company and will protect the employment of the majority of our staff. 

“Our primary focus will be on optimising the performance of our remaining Wildwood and Dim T restaurants and thereby securing the long-term viability and profitability of the company. 

“We really want to express our gratitude to all our fantastic staff who continue to show unwavering dedication and commitment during these difficult times.

“We, in turn, are working diligently to explore all avenues to retain as many of our teams from the closed sites as we possibly can within the company.  

“We thank all our guests for their ongoing support which we never take for granted, and we hope to see you soon in one of our restaurants.”

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The company will now enter into a new £750,000 loan agreement with Bet365 shareholder Will Roseff in order to fund the restructuring.

Tasty’s bosses said they expect the plan will improve earnings by up to £2.1 million by the 2025 financial year, particularly through the restaurant closures and other cost savings.

The group said it expects to operate around 30 restaurants by the end of the current year.

The proposals are to be circulated to Tasty’s creditors before a court hearing expected later this month.

On Tuesday, Tasty added that it expects to confirm revenues of around £46.9 million for 2023, up from £44 million in 2022.

It has also trimmed its earnings loss to £900,000 last year from a £2.7 million loss a year earlier.

The group has made “reasonable progress” so far this year “despite difficult recent trading conditions”.

The other sites that have been forced to close are Wildwood, Birmingham, Brentwood, Cambridge, Chichester, Edinburgh, Kettering, Kingston, Ludlow, Market Harborough, Plymouth Derry’s Cross, Skipton, Worcester, and Dim T Loughton. 

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