Hundreds of jobs at sushi chain Wasabi hang in balance after it becomes latest chain to prepare to shut restaurants
Hundreds of jobs at sushi chain Wasabi are hanging in the balance after it became the latest High Street chain to prepare to shut restaurants.
The grab-and-go food company, which employs more than 1,500 staff, has launched a controversial insolvency process called a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) to negotiate its rents down.
At risk: The firm is planning to close up to 12 of its 51 outlets, raising the prospect of more job cuts to add to the UK’s spiralling total.
But the firm is also planning to close up to 12 of its 51 outlets, raising the prospect of more job cuts to add to the UK’s spiralling total. It declined to comment on how many jobs were at risk, but said it would try to minimise cuts by moving staff in affected stores into other areas.
Wasabi, which has outlets in city centres spanning from Birmingham to London, largely relies on shoppers and office workers popping in for lunch. But it has struggled to make ends meet during lockdown, faced with deserted high streets and business districts.
Paul Berkovi, head of leisure restructuring at KPMG which is advising on the CVA, said: ‘With large numbers of city centre workers and tourists remaining at home, grab-and-go food retailers have been some of those businesses most significantly affected by the Covid-19 crisis. With the outlook remaining uncertain, Wasabi is taking decisive action to safeguard its future.’
Founded in London in 2003 by South Korean entrepreneur Dong Hyun Kim, Wasabi is backed by investment firm Capdesia.
Wasabi chief executive Henry Birts said: ‘Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, Wasabi had been performing strongly.’