Argentine restaurant chain Gaucho is attempting to secure a sale following a tax demand estimated to be £1million.
The company, which has been trying to secure new investors and had been given until Friday July 13 plus bill from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The Gaucho Group has 16 eponymous restaurants and a further 22 under its CAU brand. It is believed that the company, which has been trying to find new investors since May, has insufficient funds to pay HMRC unless it finds a buyer.
Should the company be unable to secure a deal administrators could be called in threatening about 1,500 jobs.
In a statement issued to Sky News, a Gaucho spokesman said: “We have been managing our cash tightly as we near completion of the options process. We remain confident the Gaucho business will emerge from this process on a more stable footing.”
Gaucho is one of a number of casual dining groups to have suffered this year due to overexpansion, increased competition, rising costs and a squeeze on consumer spending.
Restaurant chains including Carluccio’s, Prezzo, which is the owner of the Chimichanga chain, Jamie’s Italian and the upmarket burger bar Byron have all been forced to close outlets in recent months because of a “casual dining crunch”.