TWO restaurants in Herefordshire are at risk of closure as their owner seeks to shut sites down.

Whitbread, the firm behind the Beefeater chain, has revealed plans to shut sites around the UK.

It said it had plans to close around 126 "lower-performing" restaurants after a reduction in footfall at some locations.

Although the company has not disclosed a full list of the sites earmarked for closure,  a spokesperson told the Hereford Times that the Beefeater restaurants in Hereford and Ross-on-Wye could be affected. They said that plans to close restaurants are subject to consultation, and a final decision would not be made for at least 45 days.

The Hereford restaurant, called Starting Gate, is in Holmer Road, while Ross-on-Wye's Travellers' Rest is in the town's Ledbury Road, near the M50 junction. Both are attached to Premier Inn hotels, also owned by Whitbread.

The company spokesperson said that the closed restaurants could become extra hotel rooms, contributing to the hotel's expansion of around 3,500 more rooms across the UK.

The spokesperson added that staff will be encouraged to stay within the company by moving to other sites or taking on different roles.


Whitbread's chief executive officer Dominic Paul said: "Continuing to invest in our brand and teams for the benefit of our guests and customers has secured a market-leading position and is also delivering strong business performance.

"Our significant freehold estate and strong balance sheet mean we are in a unique position to be able to add 3,500 new hotel rooms and meet the strong demand we are seeing from guests around the country, continuing to offer a great breakfast and dinner at all of our hotels. This plan is a further positive step, delivering a better experience for our hotel guests in the UK.

"I recognise that these changes will be unsettling for affected team members and we are committed to working to enable as many as possible of those affected to stay by  transferring into other vacancies across the business more broadly. Our teams are at the heart of our guest experience, and I want to thank each and every team member for their continued hard work and dedication to great quality, service and value."