Casual Dining Group, the owner of Café Rouge and Bella Italia, has entered administration.
The news comes as administrators Alix Partners report that they are actively seeking to arrange a distressed acquisition. It remains to be seen whether this will be for one of the chains as a whole, or if the acquisition will be focused on the distressed assets.
Multiple offers have reportedly already been received, but news has yet to emerge as to the status of current parties.
Included under the Casual Dining Group are: Café Rouge, Bella Italia, Las Iguanas, Belgo, Huxleys and Oriel Grande Brasserie.
A total of 91 outlets are to close immediately, leaving 159 of the groups’ 250 outlets open. The branches that are closing are mostly located in England, although there are a few closures on the books for some of the restaurants in Scotland and Wales.
The company has entered administration just days before the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted allowing customers to visit restaurants – providing certain precautions are in place.
Clare Kennedy, joint administrator at Alix Partners, which has been appointed to handle the process, 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 business posted a Notice of Intention to Appoint Administrations back in May of this year, becoming one of the many businesses in the UK to be hit quickly by the restrictions on movement.
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