Chef Tom Kerridge reveals list of 650 restaurant cancellations and warns industry could ‘crumble’

Chef Tom Kerridge reveals list of 650 restaurant cancellations and warns industry could ‘crumble’

Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge gave people a stark insight into the challenges facing the hospitality industry this Christmas as he showed how cancellations are flooding in as omicron variant fears continue.

The Michelin-starred chef, who owns restaurants in London, Marlow, and Manchester, posted videos showing that more than 650 guests have cancelled their reservations at just one of his restaurants in the last six days.

He said that public health should be a priority, but warned that without government support, many hospitality businesses are going to “crumble”.

He wrote: “So, here we are…. This is the list of cancellations taken in one of our restaurants in the past six days…. 654 guests.

“I completely understand why and have no problem with them letting us know. Public health is THE most important thing.

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“The problem is what will the government do to support the hospitality industry? Many places are going to crumble without help….”

He added: “And before some gammon faced idiot says ‘you can afford it fat lad!’ ….. yes I probably can, but this isn’t about me or my restaurants. It’s about our industry and people’s livelihoods.”

Since posting the videos last night they have racked up over 500,000 views on Twitter and 330,000 views on Instagram.

Kerridge’s video comes after the House of Commons approved the government’s Plan B restrictions, despite almost 100 Conservatives rebelling against the vote.

These restrictions will see the return of working from home and mandatory mask-wearing in indoor venues such as cinemas, theatres, and places of worship, but masks are not yet required in pubs and restaurants. Exemptions include when people are eating, drinking, exercising or singing.

As of today, prospective revellers will need to show an NHS Covid Pass when going to nightclubs and other large venues. The pass can be obtained via the NHS app by having two vaccines or a negative lateral flow test.

Amid mounting omicron cases and lateral flow tests being unavailable for home delivery for a third day, it’s no surprise that both diners and restaurant owners are feeling nervous about the weeks ahead.

Covid Christmas fears were driven home after the realisation that yesterday was the last day you could test positive and be out of isolation for 25 December.

Kerridge isn’t the only one calling for the government to step in.

MP Caroline Lucas has also urged the government to take action and offer the hospitality industry a “lifeline” for survival beyond the New Year.

City Pub Company boss Clive Watson told the BBC that “Christmas is a key time” for the industry, with the chain making a third of its annual profits in December.

Watson fears that pubs could “run out of cash” unless the government offers extra help.

Taking to Twitter, First Dates host Fred Sirieix said: “The tsunami of cancellations in #hospitality is going to be catastrophic for the industry. Staff will lose their job and income between now and January without any hope of getting a new one. Not only that but I fear this will increase the staff shortage even further.”

He added: “As many people will most probably be deterred from (re)entering the industry after such difficulties. People need certainty in order to pay their mortgage and look after their family. Currently this is not the case. What a Christmas!”

The live music industry has also been hit, with a 40 per cent fall in gig attendees “decimating the whole industry”. According to NME, Music Venue Trust boss Mark Davyd is calling for “decisive and immediate action”, such as the cancellation of the VAT changes and the suspension of business rates.

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