The family restaurant chain Prezzo will permanently close 22 sites after being bought via pre-pack administration by the investment firm Cain International.
It means 216 of the group’s 2,900 employees will lose their jobs.
As it stands, 156 restaurants will remain, and are expected to reopen when coronavirus restrictions are lifted (in April, in May? More on this next week).
Cain acquired Prezzo’s debt and equity on December 2 and soon announced it was in discussions with landlords over rent arrangements and outstanding payments.
The casual dining chain, like all in the industry, has only been able to open for just 25 weeks since lockdown.
There is no doubt the pandemic has had an impact, but Prezzo bosses might also want to look to the likes of Jamie’s Oliver and other similar chains, all of which were out of favour long before Covid-19. It is hardly a demonstrably exciting proposition in the modern restaurant landscape. Still…
Jonathan Goldstein, chief executive of Cain International, said: “We firmly believe that strong hospitality businesses, such as Prezzo, have a bright future and will play an essential role in reviving the UK economy. However, to do so we must get through this current crisis of mounting liabilities and no revenues.
“The lack of visibility on when and how the sector will reopen has heightened economic uncertainty to the point where decisive action had to be taken to secure the future of the business and the majority of jobs for Prezzo’s people.
“We are deeply sorry for all those affected by the permanent closure of the 22 non-viable restaurants. It was a difficult but essential decision to take but doing so will allow us to save thousands of jobs and create more in the future.”