Alasdair Murdoch, chief executive of Burger King UK, has penned an open letter to major landlords calling on them to work with hospitality businesses to ensure outlets have the best chance of staying open in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
In the letter, Murdoch says the burger chain is not paying rent while its sites are closed in order to protect the business long-term, and acknowledges the impact this and the outbreak has on landlords. He says tenants and landlords "need to work together to find a solution for all and one that promotes a stable recovery and a long-term future".
The letter reads: "As we rebuild our operations, we would like to engage with you in relation to what the recovery will mean for landlords and tenants and how we can work together to ensure that we build for the long term. High streets, shopping centres and out of town retail have all been hit hard in the current crisis and how we rebuild will be extremely important. We want to ensure that landlords in the future are fairly compensated in a way that secures the long-term occupation of property.
"We want to work with you to establish how we and as many other operators (including all BK franchisees) as possible can reopen and re-establish their businesses."
Murdoch adds: "I believe that if we work together, be that through stepped rents, turnover-related rents or other innovative solutions, we have the best chance of keeping the most outlets open. I am happy to discuss all ideas. The point is we cannot go back to the old ways of working, we must work directly with you and your teams."
Murdoch was also one of many restaurant bosses who earlier this week signed a letter asking chancellor Rishi Sunak for a nine-month rent holiday to help them survive the coronavirus crisis.