July 2, 2020 / 5:41 PM / a month ago

Cafe Rouge owner appoints administrators, cuts 1,909 jobs

People walk by a Bella Italia restaurant in Chester, Britain, July 3, 2020. REUTERS/Molly Darlington

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Casual Dining Group (CDG), the operator of restaurant chains Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas, said on Thursday it had appointed administrators and would permanently close 91 sites immediately with the loss of 1,909 jobs.

The company, which had employed nearly 6,000 people across 250 sites, said the move would enable it to negotiate with landlords ahead of an expected sale of the business.

The closures add to the thousands of jobs that have been lost on Britain’s High Streets in recent days from companies hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown, including the owner of food outlet Upper Crust.

CDG Chief Executive James Spragg said he was “acutely aware” of the group’s duty to employees and recognised it was a 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,” he said.

Joint Administrator Clare Kennedy of Alix Partners said the immediate priorities would be to assist those who had lost their job and to secure a sale for the group in order to protect other roles.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison

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