RESTAURANT chain Prezzo is to axe 22 restaurants and cut 216 jobs after it was bought out of administration.

It currently has two restaurants in Bournemouth – in Westover Road and at BH2 – as well as sites in Wimborne, Christchurch, Ringwood and Lymington.

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 would protect the vast majority of Prezzo’s 2,900 jobs.

All the chain’s 178 restaurants are currently closed to customers because of the latest coronavirus lockdown.

22 Prezzo branches to close as chain is bought from administration

Prezzo restaurants had been able to operate for just 25 weeks out of the past 52 weeks but had 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.

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.”

Restaurant chain Prezzo is sold

Prezzo was sold to Cain as a going concern last December by previous private equity owner TPG.

The value of the sale was not disclosed but came six years after TPG bought the chain for more than £300million.