Chiquito falls into administration with 1,500 jobs impacted

By Simon Neville, PA City Editor

The owners of Chiquito restaurants have said they intend to appoint administrators, as the business struggles to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

The Restaurant Group, which also owns Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s, said it would shut the majority of Chiquito sites and shut its Food & Fuel chain of pubs in London.

Around 1,500 jobs are likely to be affected and the move comes less than a week after the company said sales plummeted 12.5% over two weeks.

A total of 61 Chiquito sites will remain shut while around 20, which are not part of the business getting ready for an administration, will reopen after the lockdown.

A spokesman said: “Covid-19 has had an immediate and significant impact on trading across the Group.

“We have conducted a review of the performance of our business divisions, with a particular focus on the expected future cash generation profile of each of our business units.”

He went on to say that both groups are expected to hit losses this year, adding: “As a result, the Group has taken the very difficult decision to appoint administrators for Food & Fuel Limited and filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator for Chiquito Limited.

“The decisions have been incredibly difficult and we recognise the significant impact on all of our colleagues that are affected. We thank them for their hard work and commitment during these very testing times.”

Pubs and restaurants have faced a tough week, with the Government announcing their closure, although takeaway services are allowed to continue.

Marston’s, which runs 1,400 pubs across the country, and Mitchells & Butlers, the owner of Toby Carvery and All Bar One, also both warned they were struggling.