Monday 18 May 2020 7:14 pm

Coronavirus: 6,000 jobs at risk as Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia owner faces collapse

The owner of restaurant chains including Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia has filed notice of intent to appoint administrators, putting 6,000 jobs at risk.

Casual Dining Group, which also runs the Las Iguanas chain, said the move will give it 10 working days’ respite as it weighs up potential restructuring options.

Read more: Restaurants hit out at delivery platform fees during lockdown

Earlier today the company said it was working with advisers at consultancy firm Alix Partners over a potential restructuring to shore up its finances.

Casual Dining Group has said that all options are on the table, including a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) that would allow it to shut some restaurants and renegotiate rents.

It could also mean placing some of its brands into administration to save others, though it is not clear exactly how the group would be divided up.

 “As is widely acknowledged, this is an unprecedented situation for our industry and, like many other companies across the UK, the directors of Casual Dining Group are working closely with our advisers as we consider our next steps,” a spokesperson said.

“These notifications are a prudent measure in light of the company’s position and the wider situation.”

The move means the company will be protected from potential winding up orders brought by landlords. 

Casual Dining Group had previously attempted to mitigate wider difficulties in the sector by reducing its restaurant count from 300 to 250 and selling off Spanish tapas chain La Tasca.

But alongside other restaurants the company has been plunged into crisis after UK eateries were forced to close their doors in March as part of the coronavirus lockdown.

Read more: UK lockdown: No pubs or restaurants to reopen until July ‘at very earliest’

It came amid reports that the owner of the Giraffe restaurant chain was close to striking a deal to buy Carluccio’s in a rescue plan that will save roughly 900 jobs.

Boparan Restaurants, owned by so-called chicken king tycoon Ranjit Boparan, is set to take control of Carluccio’s brand, head office and roughly 30 restaurants in the coming days, Sky News reported.

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