Town centre restaurants to close

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Italian restaurant chain Prezzo is to close restaurants in Crawley and Haywards Heath - among 94 shutting across the UK next month.

Prezzo’s restaurant in Carfax, Horsham, will remain operational.

The Crawley High Street restaurant - one of Prezzo’s Chimichanga outlets - and Prezzo in The Broadway, Haywards Heath, are closing after Prezzo entered a company voluntary arrangement ‘to secure a sustainable, long-term future.’

Prezzo says the company voluntary arrangement will allow it to ‘rationalise its estate and to reduce the cost of its leased restaurants.’

The company says it will try to re-deploy staff elsewhere where possible.

In a statement today, the company said: “As part of the process, Prezzo will seek the approval of creditors to reduce the rent costs of some of its sites and reshape the business around a smaller, profitable core of restaurants with strong growth prospects.”

Prezzo CEO Jon Hendry-Pickup said: “Prezzo’s core business today is fundamentally strong and has fantastic potential. However, the well-documented pressures on our industry mean a number of our restaurants are underperforming.

“While we continue to be profitable and cash-generative, our position is not sustainable, so we must take decisive action now to ensure we’re able to thrive in the future.

“While the 208 restaurants that make up that core will continue to trade as normal, the company expects that 94 will be closed as part of the process. Closures are expected to commence from April 2018.

Every effort will be made to redeploy those team members affected by the closures. We recognise this process will impact many of our team members and their families. We are committed to keeping them informed, and will be doing all we can to support them during this difficult time.”

He added: “We understand we need to be proactive in meeting the evolving needs of our customers, and are working extremely hard to make Prezzo a memorable and distinctive brand and experience. We’re seeing some early successes – the new ‘look and feel’ we’ve been piloting in a number of our restaurants, for example, has been very well-received by our customers leading to more visits and better sales.

“I firmly believe the business has a bright future. While the decision to enter into a company voluntary arrangement process was extremely tough, it was crucial to ensuring we’re able to continue to serve our customers for years to come.”

As well as the Crawley and Haywards Heath branches, Prezzo restaurants in Arundel and Midhurst will also be closing.

Prezzo will seek approval of the CVA from its creditors over the next two to three weeks.