Whitbread cuts restaurant manager jobs as part of reorganization

FILE PHOTO: A cappuccino stands on a table at a branch of Costa Coffee in Manchester, northern England March 18, 2016. REUTERS / Phil Noble / File Photo

(Reuters) – British Whitbread Plc WTB.L plans to simplify the management teams of its restaurant business, which has resulted in the departure of a number of managers from the company, he said on Monday.

The Independent newspaper reported that Whitbread was cutting at least 250 jobs as part of the restructuring of its restaurant business, which is owned under the Premier Inn brand.

“We are consulting directly with those affected and will endeavor to find alternative positions for them where possible,” Whitbread said in an emailed statement to Reuters, without disclosing the number of jobs that would be affected.

The news comes two months after Whitbread announced it would separate from Costa Coffee, giving in to pressure from hedge funds, including activist investor Elliott, who said the coffee chain was being held back by being regrouped with the Premier Inn chain of hotels.

Whitbread said last week he had made “good progress” with the Costa Coffee split and stuck to his forecast for the current year.

Whitbread employees were notified of the layoffs on Monday, but received no further details, according to the newspaper’s report earlier today.

Costa, founded in London in 1971, has struggled over the past two years with higher inflation and low real wage growth in its home market.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Jane Merriman and Mark Potter

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