Zizzi Owner’s Buyout From Administration Involves Job Losses

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Azzurri Group, the owner of Zizzi and Coco di Mama restaurants in the U.K., will have to cut 1,200 jobs as part of a deal to be sold out of administration to TowerBrook Capital Partners.

The investment firm has committed to inject more than 70 million pounds ($88 million) to restructure the company’s balance sheet and reduce debt, Azzurri said in a statement on Friday. The restaurant owner expects to reopen 225 sites, protecting 5,000 jobs.

The hospitality sector has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic as measures to limit the spread of the virus forced restaurants to close. Azzurri decided to shut all its restaurants ahead of the U.K. government’s decision to impose a lockdown in March.

“The immediate loss of revenue during lockdown meant that we have had to make some incredibly difficult decisions,” said Steve Holmes, Azzurri’s chief executive officer.

The group plans to reopen 40 ASK Italian and Zizzi restaurants next week, but warned in its statement that “it is impossible to predict consumer demand following such a lengthy period of uncertainty.”

These job losses add to the sector’s woes, with Rileys Sports Barfalling into administration and now looking for a buyer, the Telegraph reported on Friday. The live sports venue has already cut 44 jobs and now hopes to keep 17 of its sites open once it finds a suitor.

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