Casual Dining Group, the owner of restaurant chain Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge, has entered into administration, and appointed Clare Kennedy, Peter Saville, Daniel Imison and Catherine Williamson of Alix Partners LLP as Joint Administrators ahead of an expected sale of the business.
A total of 91 of the firm’s restaurants will close immediately, with 1,900 staff to lose their jobs.
In a Statement “The Board has determined that in today’s extreme operating environment it is in the best interests of all stakeholders for the Group to enter administration, to enable the Group to conclude negotiations with landlords regarding the estate. This is a critical step to resolve, prior to the conclusion of the ongoing sale process. The Board and its advisors have received multiple offers for the business, and the Administrators will now seek to progress these.”
“Given that all offers received for the business envisage a reduced restaurant estate, the Administrators have taken the extremely difficult decision to permanently close 91 restaurants with immediate effect. Regrettably, this will mean that there will be a number of redundancies across the Group.”
James Spragg, CEO of Casual Dining Group, said: “After reviewing all our options with advisors, it became clear that we needed to take this action in order to protect the business and secure the best possible future for Casual Dining Group as we look to conclude a potential sale. We are acutely aware of our duty to all employees and recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for them. Working alongside the Administrators we will do everything we can to support them through this process with a view to preserving as much employment as we are able to.”
Joint Administrator Clare Kennedy, of Alix Partners, said: “We appreciate that this is an extremely difficult time for all those associated with Casual Dining Group. Our immediate priorities are to assist those whose employment has been affected by today’s announcement and to secure a sale for the group in order to protect jobs and provide the Group’s much-loved brands with a sustainable platform for the future.”
The Administrators have identified 91 sites out of a total of 250 sites for immediate closure. The closures will impact 1,909 restaurant based colleagues amongst the Group’s current staff base of 5,959.