Posted: 25.05.20 at 10:28 by Joe Macey
The Pizza Express restaurant in Truro could be forced to close permanently when the coronavirus lockdown is fully lifted, according to reports.
The struggling restaurant chain has currently closed all of its 470 branches, with some open for delivery only.
But it's understood the company could now close some or all of its loss-making restaurants, according to media reports yesterday (May 24th).
This will be possible if the business is restructured via a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). It's unclear exactly how many restaurants would be permanently closed.
It is understood that before March less than 10 branches were loss-making. But the virus outbreak is likely to have made the firm's financial situation worse.
The Chinese-owned chain, which employs 14,000 people globally, has a debt of £1.1 billion and it has asked debtors if it can delay its 2019 results.
It was launched in London in 1965 by restaurateur Peter Boizot and in 2014 it was bought by Hony Capital, a Chinese private equity group.
On March 23rd, Pizza Express closed all of its restaurants for takeaway and delivery in line with government rules.
Last week it reopened 13 London restaurants for delivery only.
In November last year the firm was forced to deny rumours it was planning on closing restaurants.
It said there were no plans to shut outlets in the UK and Ireland - despite fears it was on the verge of collapse.
But it did admit trading conditions in the casual dining sector were tough amid Brexit uncertainty and "fragile" consumer confidence.