Belgian bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien has closed almost all its branches in the United Kingdom, as Brexit makes it almost impossible to continue serving the British market.
Le Pain Quotidien had already closed most of its British restaurants following an earlier round of cost-cutting in 2020, but last week nine of its ten remaining outlets also followed suit. That would cost 250 jobs, MyLondon reports.
The chain went looking for an interested acquirer, but did not find one, spelling the end for eight restaurants in London and one in Oxford. Local news website MyLondon even reports that Le Pain Quotidien’s UK branch, BrunchoUK, has fallen into administration. The only exception is the flagship in St Pancras station, near London’s Eurostar terminal, as it is managed from another company.
Brexit and Covid
CEO Annick Van Overstraeten points to the consequences of Brexit, after which “London has become a very difficult market.” Moreover, after the pandemic, fewer people go to work every day in the city centre, while rents remain as high as before.
However, the chain does hope to grow again in the UK market through franchising, which has actually been the plan for several years. In fact, before the reorganisation in 2020, Le Pain Quotidien still had 26 restaurants in the UK.