Wahaca to shutter a third of sites

Wahaca is set to shutter more than a third of its sites, following impacted sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The group is now planning to close 10 of its 28 sites. Branches affected by the closure include sites in Bluewater, Kent; St Pauls, London; Liverpool; Manchester and Bristol. 

Alongside news of the closures, the group also confirmed it is considering a CVA in a bid to cut costs across its business. 

The announcement was made in an email circulated to staff, seen by Catering Today, where co-founders Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby said they will “try and save jobs” wherever possible. 

However, the group noted that the past four months have seen the “depletion of significant cash reserves”, resulting in the company having to raise new equity to allow it to continue with reopenings and return to growth.

The same email noted that high rent in city centre locations had been harder to meet due to a “significant” hit to cash reserves during the nationwide lockdown.

As a result, a number of those restaurants had become “untenable”, they added. 

Looking ahead, the group said it will now only be possible to reopen sites that will not lose money, even with the “likelihood of significantly reduced sales”, in a bid to avoid putting the “entire business and every job at risk”.

The email read: “This is genuinely the hardest email I have ever had to send and I am truly sorry that you are all recipients of it. I apologise unreservedly to those affected and once again thank you for everything you have done for us. 

“While it is little conciliation, please know that you have helped make Wahaca into the much-loved business it is today and you will be very much part of its history and its DNA. I do believe we will go on to achieve amazing things but today we pause and say thank you to all the amazing people leaving us. We will truly miss you all and ask you to please stay in touch.”

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