Suffolk and Essex restaurants at threat as chains close 91 outlets

Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas restaurants in Suffolk and Essex could face closure Pictur

Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas restaurants in Suffolk and Essex could face closure Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas restaurants in Suffolk and Essex are at risk of closure after their parent company went into administration.

Casual Dining Group, which owns the Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge and Las Iguanas chains, announced it will be cutting 1,909 jobs – while 91 of its 250 restaurants will close as a result of administration.

Locally, the Bury St Edmunds and Chelmsford outlets of Cafe Rouge are all at risk of closure, while the Las Iguanas in Braintree could also shut.

The group also owns Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Cafe Rouge restaurants at Center Parcs in Elveden Forest.

It has not yet confirmed which restaurants could close.

The company’s board said that entering administration was in the best interest of stakeholders during the “extreme operating environment” it is having to trade through.

It is looking for a new owner, but said that the administration would allow it to end negotiations with landlords, a “critical step” before finding a buyer.

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Chief executive James Spragg said: “After reviewing all our options with advisers, it became clear that we needed to take this action in order to protect the business and secure the best possible future for Casual Dining Group as we look to conclude a potential sale.

“We are acutely aware of our duty to all employees and recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for them. Working alongside the administrators we will do everything we can to support them through this process with a view to preserving as much employment as we are able to.”

Bosses said that all the offers they have received from potential buyers involved reducing the number of restaurants it runs.

Administrator Clare Kennedy, from Alix Partners, 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.”

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