I was sitting at Stansted Airport this morning waiting for my EasyJet flight to Greece (which, I am told may never happen due to the fact that, (a) EasyJet are pulling out of Stansted, and not in a good way, (b) the 'air bridge' to Greece isn't going to open and (c) I have forgotten my face-mask) when I thought I would like an Upper Crust baguette. I toddled across to where they used to be and discovered that the owner of Upper Crust is to axe 5,000 jobs after suffering heavy losses in the Coronavirus crisis lockdown.
For any traveller who arrived hungry at a mainline station in the UK, or fancied avoiding the meal served on a plane, Upper Crust has long been a fixture in our lives, even if that first bite into the baguette often ravaged our gums as it wreaked havoc on our appetite. The SSP Group said the cuts (to their workforce, not to your gums), which represent about half of its workforce, are part of a wide-sweeping restructuring aimed at keeping the catering company afloat. They are apparently starting to have a number of collective conversations on the future of their business from today, with a view to making big changes, which could be reversed if the spring and early summer of discontent responds well to the 'V-shaped recovery' the Bank of England now predict we could enjoy, having toyed with 'Ws' and 'Us' and even 'Ls' in the not so distant past.
If the worst of the plans go ahead this could mean that more than half of the company's 9,000 strong UK workforce are made redundant. Before lockdown in March SSP traded from around 2,500 global outlets, serving more than one and a half million customers a day across 35 countries. Even if the air bridges do open up from the UK Simon Smith, SSP's Chief Executive, said that he doesn't expect more than 20% of their outlets to have opened by the autumn.
Oh well, at least I can now move on to Caffe Ritazza for a cup of coffee ...