Prezzo to sell off 27 restaurants to safeguard future

Tue, 25 Jul 2017

Italian restaurant group Prezzo has announced it will sell 27 of its UK locations and rein in new openings, as many restaurant operators in the country continue to slim down their offerings.

Matching moves made by Jamie’s Italian, Strada and Byron, Prezzo is hoping to find buyers for almost 10 per cent of its estate, including eight Chimichanga Tex-Mex restaurants and 19 locations or restaurants under its eponymous Italian brand.

Reports from restaurant and pubs industry website MCA reveal that Prezzo has engaged property agents JLL and NG&G to find buyers for the properties.

Though Prezzo was founded by the Kaye family, it was bought by US private equity firm TPG in 2015 in a deal worth £304 million. The decision to sell the leasehold sites comes almost a year after TPG appointed Jon Hendry-Pickup, previously chief operating officer at Travelodge, as Prezzo’s new CEO.

Since then, the group has expanded from 250 to 300 restaurants, revamped its core brand and launched Mexico, a Mexican dining concept.

In a statement announcing the move, Hendry-Pickup said: “So that Prezzo is best positioned for further growth, we’re reviewing the potential disposal of a select number of leases where trading is not in line with the rest of the portfolio, while continuing our programme of opening new restaurants and investing in refurbishments.”

Prezzo joins a host of restaurant operators forced into making closures or disposals of sites thanks to the increasing pressures facing them. Many cite rising labour costs, business rates and food inflation squeezing some margins, particularly in the casual dining space.

Though openings have largely continued, companies such as the Restaurant Group, which runs brands such as Frankie and Benny’s and Chiquito, has closed 45 locations in the past year after its share price plummeted.

Jamie’s Italian – which closed six restaurants – along with Byron (four) and Burger & Lobster (also four) make up some other big names forced into closures this year.

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