Mitchells & Butlers posted a first-half loss on Thursday July 2 and said that it is uncertain about consumer demand and how its pubs and restaurants will function with strict social distancing measures as it gears up to reopen most of its sites in England on July 4.
The company swung to a pre-tax loss of £121 million for the six months that ended on April 11 from a profit of £75 million last year, reflecting nearly four weeks of closures due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The owner of approximately 1,700 restaurants and pubs in the UK, including All Bar One and Harvester and Browns, said that it is currently not meaningful to give an outlook.
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Shares in the company, which have fallen nearly 60% so far in the year, were flat in early trade.
It recorded an £11 million charge primarily from disposing or donating short-dated food and drink stock items due to the closures.
Mitchells said that its sites will have signs to maintain social distancing, sanitising stations, disposable menus, table spacing, capacity management where possible through online booking and a cashless-first approach.
Its self-service Toby Carvery restaurants will now have servers coming to the diners' tables as part of safety measures.
The company said that its German business Alex reopened in May, with sales growing each week, and that the experience provides it with a "clear path" for reopening in the UK.