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Carluccio's could close 30 restaurants as it adds to casual dining sector's woes

Embattled restaurant chain Carluccio’s could close around 30 sites after it launched a radical rescue scheme to help it keep trading amid tough conditions in the casual dining sector.
The chain, founded by the so-called godfather of Italian gastronomy Antonio Carluccio in 1991, is looking to pay just two thirds of the rent on 34 of its 103 sites as it struggles to deal with rising cost pressures besetting the industry.
Accountancy giant KPMG, which is overseeing the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposal, said the restaurant would be asking its landlords for the rent reduction following a strategic review of its operations.
“Specifically, this CVA is designed to tackle the cost of the company’s leasehold obligations across its restaurant portfolio, which if successful, will allow the business to move forward across a core, more profitable estate,” restructuring partner Will Wright said.
“Crucially, it forms one element of a wider turnaround plan which, if the CVA is approved, will see an injection of funding into the business from the company’s majority shareholder, to fund an extensive and far-reaching investment and growth plan.”
Carluccio's could close 30 restaurants as it adds to casual dining sector's woes

Jamie's Italian is one of several casual dining chains which has felt the bite from rising costs and a squeeze on consumer spending

Credit:
Chris J Ratcliffe
Mr Carluccio, who died last year, banked more than ?10m when the business floated in 2005. It is now backed by Dubai-based Landmark Group.
The news comes shortly after Neil Wickers stepped down from the chief executive post after three years, replaced by Mark Jones who ran Goals Soccer Centres and before that led Pizza Hut’s UK business.
Carluccio’s will become the latest casual dining chain to use the insolvency procedure, coming in quick succession after rivals Jamie’s Italian, Byron and Prezzo. Last week, steak restaurant Gaucho also confirmed it was considering a CVA as one of its options as it sought to deal with its struggling Cau brand.
Carluccio’s needs to secure at least 75pc creditor approval for the CVA for it to proceed. Documents will be sent out shortly with a vote on the CVA expected on May 31.
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