Pizza Express is reportedly in crisis talks with creditors today, after struggling with millions of pounds worth of debt.
The Italian restaurant chain is said to have accumulated £1.6 million of debt per restaurant
The company wrote, “Pizza Express reportedly about to engage in talks with creditors.
“Last seen, had £1.6m of debt per restaurant. Not sustainable.”
Pizza Express reportedly about to engage in talks with creditors. Last seen, had £1.6m of debt per restaurant. Not sustainable.
— Langton Capital (@langtoncapital) October 7, 2019
The Chinese-owned restaurant group has more than 470 restaurants across the UK and 100 overseas in Europe, Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, The Philippines, Singapore and the Middle East.
Founded in 1965, the chain has been one of the most popular Italian eateries for more than 50 years.
However, customers were quick to blame the chain’s expensive prices for the reported debt trouble:
Pizza Express remains the best restaurant for young kids. Dough balls. Mini pizza. Ice cream. Colouring and stickers. Anyone who would rather take a 3-yr-old to a hipster pizza joint with artisan mozzarella is being a dick
— Anita Singh (@anitathetweeter) October 7, 2019
According to its most recent results, profits fell 7.7% in the first half of the year, but still came in at to £32.4million as sales rose slightly.
PizzaExpress chief executive Jinlong Wang said: “Intense competition in the casual dining sector encourages innovation and we are constantly seeking ways to increase appeal to new and existing customers.”
He added: “Looking ahead, whilst we expect both the UK and Ireland and International markets to remain challenging, we are confident in our ability to successfully appeal to customers and believe that we will continue to deliver a resilient performance across the remainder of 2019.”
Of that, £655.6million is due to be repaid by August 2022 – a large chunk of it in August 2021.
Bloomberg said representatives for PizzaExpress and financial service firms Houlihan Lokey and Perella Weinberg declined to comment.
It’s also trying hard to beat the high street slowdown with new menu ranges, new restaurant designs and even opening new sites.