It depends upon which end of the loaf you like your bread to be sliced; Alvarez & Marsal either saved the jobs of employees working at 16 of Le Pain Quotidien UK outlets, or ten British stores of the Belgian chain were closed as a direct result of the high street meltdown accompanying the Covid-19 caused lockdown and dining restrictions. Is your large takeaway cup of skimmed soy cappuccino with extra foam but no chocolate sprinkles either half full, or half empty? The media get up to 40% more click-throughs if they report bad news and, in Sky News' Mark Kleinman's article, you could hear the glumness and despondency about the pre-pack Administration selling the business to a subsidiary of BrunchCo21 SA involving the closure of LPQ's UK head office and ten of its restaurants, adding to the grim toll of job losses in the sector.
BrunchCo21 SA are a newly formed company understood to be connected to Cobepa, a Belgian-based investment firm that is the chain's existing backer and are expected to invest additional sums in the UK business when the takeover completes. Talks with the landlords of the surviving outlets are ongoing and although 200 jobs were lost in the restructuring more were saved at a time Brits are still having to buy their pain online. Soon it is hoped we can buy and enjoy our breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and wine, Belgian-style under a neat grey awning in the summer British sun in one of the 16 remaining locations of Le Pain Quotidien.