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Casual Dining Group to close 91 restaurants

Published:  03 July, 2020

Casual Dining Group (CDG), the company that owns Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Las Iguanas and Belgo, has announced 91 of its 250 sites will remain closed permanently, resulting in the loss of 1,900 jobs to the on-trade sector.

The future of the group was put into question back in mid-May when the company announced it was seeking to appoint administrators.

According to the Guardian and other sources, the group has now appointed an advisory firm to handle the administration, which is expected to result in the breakup of the group, with the streamlined chains sold off to new investors.

The company said multiple offers were on the table but buyers did not want to acquire all the existing sites and so 91 would close permanently.

“We appreciate that this is an extremely difficult time for all those associated with Casual Dining Group,” said Clare Kennedy, administrator at Alix Partners. “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 news comes just one day before the UK is looking forward to the re-opening of the on-trade on 4 July.

Harpers has seen various reports of a surge in interest among punters looking to get back to their favourite haunts, though the CDG collapse is a stark reminder of the challenges being felt for many.

The wider retail sector has been among the worst hit from the widespread shutdown from the Covid-19 pandemic, with major job losses in the aviation and automotive industries also on the horizon as the government’s Job Retention Scheme begins to be phased out from August.

CDG’s beer, chips and mussels brand Belgo will permanently close three out of four outlets. The group’s airport brands Huxleys and Oriel are also closing. In total, CDG employs just under 6,000 people.