Pandemic financial woes mounting for food-services company

The financial effects of the pandemic continue to mount for a company that provides food services in the Williamsburg area.



a sign on a brick building: The campus of William & Mary is seen Friday afternoon July 24, 2020. William & Mary expects to lose roughly $15 million revenue this fiscal year, according to information presented to the board of visitors on Aug. 25.


© Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press/The Daily Press/TNS
The campus of William & Mary is seen Friday afternoon July 24, 2020. William & Mary expects to lose roughly $15 million revenue this fiscal year, according to information presented to the board of visitors on Aug. 25.

Sodexo laid off 80 employees in Williamsburg at the end of August.

“Our top priority is immovably the health and safety of our employees, clients, customers, and the communities we serve,” a Sodexo spokesperson said in a statement. “As we continue to navigate the uncertainties created by COVID-19, like everyone else, we’ve had to make some very difficult decisions. And the most difficult of these has been workforce reductions.”

The company runs food services at The College of William & Mary as one of its contracts, but services at the college are were not affected by the company’s decision, according to university spokeswoman Suzanne Clavet.

The food and facilities management company filed a notice with the Virginia Employment Commission on July 31. The layoff took affect a month later.

Contractors run dining halls at universities across the state, including at Old Dominion University and Virginia Wesleyan University. When colleges and university campuses shut down in March, a wave of furloughs and layoffs swept the state.

The campus shutdowns took a heavy toll on Sodexo, which describes itself as the world’s 19th largest employer. In July, the company announced that revenue was down almost 30% than the same time last year. Although educational institutions account for only about an eighth of its total revenue, that segment saw the biggest hit from the pandemic. Revenue was down almost 54% in that category.

In a news release Friday, Sodexo said it was taking “pro-active actions” in the second half of the fiscal year to adapt to the new business environment, including roughly $189 million in restructuring.

The food and facilities management company filed a notice with the Virginia Employment Commission on July 31. The layoff took affect a month later.

Matt Jones, 757-247-4729, [email protected]

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