Pizza Express and Azzurri expected to announce restaurant closures

By BigHospitality

- Last updated on GMT

Pizza Express and Azzurri expected to announce restaurant closures

Related tags: Casual dining, Pizza express, Azzurri, Zizzi, Ask Italian

Italian causal dining chains Pizza Express and Azzurri are expected to announce restaurant closures and financial restructures as the fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic continues.

According to Sky News​, the 470-strong brand is looking to exit the sites through a CVA process, with up to 75 restaurants closing as part of a financial restructuring at parent company Hony Capital. The final number for the proposed closures will depend on the outcome of landlord negotiations.

One source told Sky that although the number of site closures is not yet finalised, it was unlikely to number more than 20% of its estate.

Azzurri Group, which owns the Ask Italian, Coco di Mama and Zizzi high street restaurant brands, is also believed to be on the verge of a pre-pack administration which would involve the closure of 20-25 restaurants.

According to a report in The Times​, the company is understood to be in advanced talks over a sale to Towerbrook Capital Partners.

The Bridgepoint backed business has been considering its options for the past several months, having appointed KPMG as advisors in May.

The news represents the latest casual dining casualty as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier this month Casual Dining Group, which operates brands including Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge, announced plans to close 91 sites with immediate effect, while multi-brand operator The Restaurant Group entered a CVA to exit 125 unviable sites.

Since closing its entire estate in March, Pizza Express has reopened just 46 of its restaurants for dine-in so far and has 36 operating for delivery and click and collect.

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Casual Dining

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