Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Restaurant invites staff from closed down Tesco store for a free meal so they can say goodbye

DESPITE the uproar that followed the decision by Tesco to close its Sevenoaks High Street Metro food and home & wear stores, the final locking up of the doors two weeks ago seems to have slipped fairly unnoticed under the radar.

WHITE OUT: The Tesco High Street facade. The windows upstairs have also been boarded up. In the background is the Wagamama restaurant where the Tesco staff were treated to a meal

But what also went largely unnoticed was a generous and magnanimous gesture by Magna Walczak, the general manager at Wagmama, the restaurant next to the Tesco store.

When she heard that nothing had been arranged by the supermarket chain as a farewell for the 60 or so staff, many of who had worked in the store for more than 20 years, she invited all of them to have a free meal in her restaurant. They were unable to all attend at the same time, so Magna and her staff kindly organised four different sittings when Tesco colleagues who had worked together on various shifts or in the same departments were able to get together one last time.

Magna said: “I was told some of the staff members are being taken on at the Tesco in Riverhead, but others have been made redundant and, because of their age, may struggle to get another job.

“Many of them have become friends as well as work colleagues over the years and I thought it was a shame nothing was being done for them, so we came up with the idea of letting them all sit down together to say goodbye.”

Prior to the Tesco store closing, a group of Sevenoaks residents started an online petition demanding the 40-year-old outlet be kept open. But this was to no avail and shoppers passing by this week will see whited-out windows in the Home & Wear Store and that in the supermarket area, ‘the lights are on but there’s no one home’ as they say.

CLOSED DOWN: The lights are on but there’s no one home

Rumours are rife about what is going to happen to the Tesco site. Some believe the High Street front will be turned back into separate shops with the office space upstairs becoming residential and the supermarket area could become office space. Others believe the bulldozers will be called in to level the site and something new will take its place.

Another town closure which has passed a few people by is El Matador, the restaurant in London Road, Sevenoaks. There is a padlock on the gate and ‘To Let’ signs have recently appeared on the railings outside.

The Ibbett Mosely estate agent details describe the historic premises, which has been used by several different businesses over the years, as a Grade II Listed building arranged over ground floor and first floor, with a fully fitted restaurant and bar and a fully fitted cocktail lounge and wine bar at first floor level.

The premises has approximately 90 covers on ground floor, with a kitchen and bar area located to the rear. The first floor bar comprises approximately 25 covers. There are two large flats to the rear of the premises, these are included within the letting.

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