According to Sky News, advisers at KPMG have begun contacting prospective bidders for the business in recent days to sound out a sale.
It was reported back in early May that Azzurri, which operates the Ask Italian, Zizzi and Coco di Mama brands, had turned to KPMG in a bid to try and find a way out of the crisis.
The sale process is understood to still be at an early stage, and is said to be only one of the options that Azzurri owner Bridgepoint is considering for the future of the company.
Sources said that KPMG was inviting offers for part or all of the business, which was created in 2015 when Bridgepoint paid £250m for the ASK and Zizzi chains.
Prior to the pandemic Azzurri traded from roughly 300 restaurants, and employed about 6,000 people.
Speaking to BigHospitality back in April, Azzurri CEO Steve Holmes said the business had been working hard during lockdown to ensure it is ready once restaurants are allowed to reopen.
“The business has gone through a tremendous amount of change in such a short space of time and I’ve been seriously impressed by the resolve and positivity of out team in this incredibly challenging time,” he said.
“The one thing I want to build on from the adversity is how the closer relationships that have been formed can be harnessed so that when we come out the other side we are stronger and hungrier and more match fit than never before.”
“As an optimist, I like to think people will be desperate to go back to restaurants.”