A restaurant chain with branches in York has announced plans to close 22 sites and axe 216 jobs – after it was rescued out of administration.
Cain International, which only bought the Prezzo chain in December, has bought it back from administrators in a pre-pack deal to secure its future.
The owner said the action protects the vast majority of Prezzo’s 2,900 team members’ jobs.
All of the chain’s 178 restaurants – including those in Clifford Street and Vangarde Way – are currently closed to customers in the face of the latest national coronavirus lockdown.
Prezzo’s restaurants had been able to operate for just 25 weeks out of the past 52 weeks but has seen fixed costs and rent accumulate, Cain International said.
It is understood that the company filed for insolvency after failing to reach an agreement with landlords over rent payments.
Jonathan Goldstein, chief executive of Cain, said: “We firmly believe that strong hospitality businesses, such as Prezzo, have a bright future and will play an essential role in reviving the UK economy.
“However, to do so, we must get through this current crisis of mounting liabilities and no revenues.
“The lack of visibility on when and how the sector will reopen has heightened economic uncertainty to the point where decisive action had to be taken to secure the future of the business and the majority of jobs for Prezzo’s people.
“We are deeply sorry for all those affected by the permanent closure of the 22 non-viable restaurants.
“It was a difficult, but essential, decision to take but doing so will allow us to save thousands of jobs and create more in the future.”
Earlier this week, Sky News reported the owner was exploring options to secure its future, including a potential insolvency, with advisors at FTI consulting.
In December, Prezzo was sold to Cain as a going concern by previous private equity owners TPG after it was among casual dining chains battered by the pandemic.
The value of the sale was not disclosed but came six years after TPG bought the chain for more than £300 million.