Gordon Ramsay says his restaurants have lost $80 million worth of turnover during the pandemic
Lockdowns have caused "utter devastation" and been "incredibly costly"
/NOVOSTIVL/ TV chef Gordon Ramsay revealed Tuesday that his UK restaurants had lost £57 million ($80 million) worth of turnover during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ramsay, who owns 35 restaurants worldwide, told The Sun the three lockdowns in the UK have caused "utter devastation."
Ramsay, 54, currently has 18 restaurants across London and plans to open five more in 2021. The hospitality industry has been the hardest hit by the pandemic, with restaurants, bars and cafes having to stick to a 10 p.m. curfew at times, or shut altogether.
He said $14 million worth of bookings in his UK restaurants were "wiped out overnight" in December as England was placed in tiered restrictions due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
On January 4, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the country would go back into its third national lockdown, with restaurants closed and everyone told to stay at home. Johnson said Monday that restaurants should be able to reopen on May 17 as part of the UK's roadmap out of lockdown.
Gordon Ramsay Restaurants suffered $80.9 million worth of lost turnover between March 19, when the first lockdown was announced, to February this year, the chef and TV personality said. "I'm in it," he added.
That the impact of the pandemic has been "incredibly costly," he said.
"Having been through so much with the 2008 financial crash, then terrorist attacks and 9/11, when COVID first hit we all thought it would be over and done with in a couple of weeks. But it's been long-haul," he told the newspaper.
The government rolled out the "Eat Out to Help Out" initiative at the start of August, offering diners 50% off their meals. But even this wasn't sufficient.
Ramsay said he had no choice but to use the government's furlough scheme to save hundreds of jobs at his restaurants across the country.
"I do feel under pressure to give my younger members of staff, especially, some hope, and the sense that we can get out of this," he said. "There have been so many tears, people at their wits' end."
The Gordon Ramsay Restaurants group was founded in 1997 and is one of the largest privately-owned restaurant groups in the UK. Ramsay also owns 10 restaurants in the US.
"I have always put my money back into the business," he said. "I've never been greedy, I've always been very, very generous.
"I get criticised for being wealthy, but the responsibility on my shoulders — the livelihoods at stake — is huge," Ramsay added.
Gordon Ramsay Restaurants is among the many groups to suffer since coronavirus hit the UK in March 2020. Pizza Express said in August it may close 15% of its UK restaurants as part of a restructuring plan, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.