Oxford Brookes university confirms Brookes Restaurant will close in May 2020

18 September 2019 by
Oxford Brookes university confirms Brookes Restaurant will close in May 2020

Oxford Brookes university has confirmed its intention to close Brookes Restaurant in May 2020.

The restaurant, part of the university's School of Hospitality Management, had lost an average of £280,000 annually across the last four academic years, Oxford Brookes has said.

The decision was made despite a petition calling for it to be saved, which attracted more than 1,300 signatures. The petition had described the restaurant as an "integral part of the curriculum", which provides "valuable practical experience to both first and final year International Hospitality Management students".

Announcing the decision today the university said: "Following a formal consultation process and careful consideration, the University has taken the decision to close Brookes Restaurant at the end of the current academic year.

"Brookes Restaurant has maintained an excellent reputation over a number of years, reflecting the quality of its service. However, despite a number of initiatives over the past decade, the restaurant has consistently made a significant annual operating loss. Over the last four academic years the restaurant has lost an average of £280,000 per year on direct operating activities.

"Staff affected by the decision will continue to be fully supported, including exploring opportunities for alternative employment within the university."

The university has said it remains committed to providing a "world class education which prepares students for successful careers in the international hospitality industry", adding that undergraduate hospitality management students will continue to undertake external placements in their second year.

Dr Ioannis S Pantelidis, chair of the Council for Hospitality Management Education, had written an open letter calling for restaurant to be saved. He wrote: "At a time when external pressures such as Brexit, the declining number of 18-year-olds and the out workings of the Augur report have created the perfect storm for Higher Education institutions, it is understandable that efficiencies have to be made.

"However, the impact of these cuts would appear to be disproportionately affecting hospitality programmes across the UK. CHME would assert that this is short-sighted, ignoring the economic, social and cultural importance of the hospitality industry. Indeed, as the third-largest industry in the UK employing 3.2 million people (UK Hospitality, 2018), it offers a wealth of graduate opportunities."

The closure follows that of Runshaw College's Foxholes restaurant, in Lancashire, which was the first to win the AA College Restaurant of the Year award in 2016.

A closure date has been provisionally set for 1 May 2020.

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