Future of Beccles Prezzo in doubt after chain announces 22 closures

Prezzo has had a branch in the former Beccles Cinema since the mid-2000s.

Prezzo has had a branch in the former Beccles Cinema since the mid-2000s. - Credit: Google Maps

Restaurant chain Prezzo is to axe 22 restaurants and cut 216 jobs after it was rescued out of administration, plunging the future of their Beccles branch in doubt.

The Italian restaurant chain, which is in administration, has had a branch in the iconic former Beccles Cinema building in Saltgate for more than a decade.

The chain moved into the former cinema, purpose-built in 1914, in the mid-2000s, more than 40 years after the cinema closed and following a spells as a furniture store and antiques centre.

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 protects the vast majority of Prezzo’s 2,900 team members’ jobs.

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

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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.”

All of Prezzo's 178 restaurants are currently closed to diners due to the coronavirus lockdown, but some are continuing to offer takeaway and delivery.

The chain has sites a number of sites around Norfolk and Suffolk, including in Norwich's Tombland, Ipswich, Stowmarket and Aldeburgh.

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