Threat to Suffolk sites as Prezzo announces closures

Prezzo, Hamilton Road, Felixstowe

Prezzo, Hamilton Road, Felixstowe could be under threat as the chain announces it plans to axe 22 restaurants - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Prezzo restaurants around Suffolk are under threat after the chain announced it is planning to axe 22 sites and cut 216 jobs.

The Italian restaurant chain, which is in administration, has sites in Stowmarket, Woodbridge, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Aldeburgh and Felixstowe.

All of Prezzo's restaurants are currently closed to diners due to the coronavirus lockdown, but some are continuing to offer takeaway and delivery.

Cain International, which only bought the 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. It has not named the sites that will close.

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.

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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.

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