Zizzi and Ask Italian owner to close 75 restaurants resulting in 1,200 job losses

Numerous Zizzi restaurants will close. Credit: PA

The owner of the Zizzi and Ask Italian restaurant chains will not reopen around 75 of its restaurants following the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in the loss of up to 1,200 jobs.

Azzurri Group has been sold out of administration to TowerBrook Capital Partners in a deal which will see around 225 restaurants and shops continue to operate, protecting about 5,000 jobs.

But approximately 75 sites fall outside the scope of the deal and will subsequently close.

Steve Holmes, chief executive of Azzurri Group, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has had a profound impact on the casual dining sector, bringing many businesses like ours to a standstill.

“Despite being a successful operator, the immediate loss of revenue during lockdown meant that we have had to make some incredibly difficult decisions to protect the business for the long-term.

“It is with deep sadness that this process will result in the permanent closure of a number of sites and that we must say goodbye to greatly valued employees across our brands.”

The news is the latest in a string of restaurant groups announcing closures.

On Thursday it emerged that Pizza Express is set to to close up to 75 restaurants as part of a rescue plan which could put more than 1,000 jobs at risk. 

Casual Dining Group, the owner of Bella Italia, Café Rouge, and Las Iguanas, permanently closed 91 outlets after entering administration.

The Restaurant Group, which operates Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s, confirmed it would close up to 120 restaurants, resulting in almost 3,000 jobs losses, while more than 1,000 Carluccio’s staff lost their jobs in May.