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Foodservice equipment maker to close plants, reduce workforce

Welbilt Inc. shutters half of its North American manufacturing facilities, as well as three overseas plants, and lays off 200 workers.

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  • | 11:35 a.m. April 9, 2020
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  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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NEW PORT RICHEY — Welbilt Inc. (NYSE: WBT), a $1.6 billion maker of foodservice equipment, has seen a drop in demand because of the COVID-19 crisis and has taken steps to reduce costs, including layoffs and plant closures. 

In a press release, the New Port Richey company says it will shutter five of its 10 North American plants for one to two weeks, as well as three of its six facilities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The firm’s plants in Asia will continue to operate on normal schedules. 

Welbilt will also lay off 200 of its 4,800 employees, the release states. The workforce reduction is expected to cut costs by approximately $3.5-$4.5 million. 

In addition, members of Welbilt’s board of directors have voluntarily agreed to reduce their cash-based fees by 50%. The company’s executive leadership team will have its base pay cut by 50%, while salaried employees will see pay reductions of between 10% and 25%. Some salaried and hourly employees have been, or will be, furloughed, the release states.

Welbilt, the release states, has a 5,000-strong global distributor network and dealers in more than 100 countries. It generated $1.6 billion in sales in both 2019 and 2018, up from $1.45 billion in 2017.


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