Hospitality business Mitchells & Butlers has confirmed it has entered redundancy consultations with staff.
The group, which was established in 1898 and operates around 1,700 restaurants and pubs across the UK, did not confirm the number of redundancies, but said consultations had been opened with "a number of our front-line team" and that the group would seek to redeploy affected staff.
The firm – which has a brand portfolio including Harvester, Toby Carvery, O'Neills, Miller & Carter and All Bar One – also urged the government to "step up" its support for hospitality, which it said "has been repeatedly singled out and taken the full brunt of restrictions".
The news follows yesterday's move by the government to simplify regional Covid restrictions which saw Liverpool placed into the ‘very high' alert level and will see wet-led pubs and bars in the city region forced to close from tomorrow.
A Mitchells & Butlers spokesperson said: "Our industry is operating in exceptionally challenging and uncertain circumstances. While we have worked incredibly hard to makes sites Covid-19 secure and keep staff and customers safe, we are facing significant difficulties from the recently introduced 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, new enforced closures and tapering government support that doesn't go far enough.
"Mitchells & Butlers, like many others in the sector, has taken the very difficult and regrettable decision to open redundancy consultations with a number of our front-line team and will seek to redeploy affected staff wherever possible.
"With trading restrictions and uncertainty likely to continue for the foreseeable future, we strongly urge the government to step up the level of support it is offering to an industry which has been repeatedly singled out and taken the full brunt of restrictions."