McDonald’s is expected to hire 20,000 people in the UK and Ireland as part of a larger investment campaign, despite the damage done to the hotel industry by the pandemic.
Plans to open more than 50 new restaurants over the next year come as Main Street grapples with a labor shortage this resulted in an increase in wages for employees of UK restaurants. Both Brexit and the pandemic prompted foreign workers to leave Britain.
The relaxation of social distancing rules, which will allow restaurants to recruit more staff, paved the way for the recruitment drive, the US group said.
Its openings were part of a larger investment plan under which its existing estate would receive an upgrade, including the addition of ‘Grab & Go’ options in areas with high worker populations. McDonald’s said it would also test more flexible store layouts.
But Covid-19 has taken a heavy toll nonetheless, after multiple closures forced sites to close or only sell take-out for long periods of time. Many small rooms have closed and others say they don’t plan to be able to pay rent arrears built during the pandemic.
However, some well-funded companies take advantage of this to expand.
Itsu, the street sushi chain, said on Sunday it had sold a stake to private investor Bridgepoint, which would allow it to open 100 outlets and hire an additional 2,000 people over five years. This comes despite the group getting rent cuts as part of a voluntary company deal last year.
Itsu founder Julian Metcalfe said the group was returning to pre-pandemic customer visit levels.
“The pandemic has caused chaos and so much suffering in our industry in addition to the looming challenge of a severe shortage of young European chefs and huge food inflation,” he said. “The truth is, despite these challenges, Itsu’s modern menu keeps us busy and vibrant.”
Paul Pomroy, McDonald’s Managing Director for the UK and Ireland, said: “There is no doubt that the pandemic has had a huge impact on the employment opportunities of many people and has threatened the future of workers. shopping streets of the country. . . the actions we announced today reflect our commitment to continue to innovate and invest in the communities and local economies we serve.
McDonald’s operates 1,300 restaurants across the UK under a franchise system, with approximately 200 local franchisees and 120,000 workers.
The company has emerged relatively unscathed from the pandemic, in part thanks to its delivery and drive-thru offerings. Global comparable sales fell 7.7% in 2020 compared to the previous year.