Upper Crust Owner Plans to Cut 5,000 U.K. Jobs on Slow Recovery


SSP Group Plc, the owner of travel food outlets such as British railway staple Upper Crust, plans to cut about 5,000 U.K. jobs as work-from-home schedules to combat the coronavirus cut appetite for train trips.

Passenger numbers on U.K. trains are about 85% lower compared with last year and only about a fifth of SSP’s cafes and sandwich stands in stations and airports are expected to be open by the fall, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. Air travel in the country is also largely closed, reinforcing the decision to reduce the workforce.

The number of positions to be eliminated represents about 12.5% of SSP’s global workforce of about 40,000 people. The company operates franchises including Burger King and Starbucks in freeway service stations and airports around the world.

The travel industry has been particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted governments to close borders and limit domestic journeys to try and contain the spread. U.K. airlines such as British Airways as EasyJet Plc are cutting jobs, in common with aviation and tourism companies across the world.

SSP’s downsizing will cost as much as 10 million pounds ($12.4 million), the company said. The shares declined 2.5% to 251.60 pence as of 9 a.m. in London.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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