WHITBREAD is losing around £27,000 in rent each week for its 27 defunct Pizzaland restaurants, according to industry estimates.
The company, which acquired the BrightReasons group in 1996, incorporating Pizzaland and Bella Pasta restaurants, decided to sell some Pizzalands and convert others to Bella Pastas to avoid competition with its Pizza Hut chain.
Stephen Evans, managing director of BrightReasons, said that the restaurants have been closing on a "sliding scale" but admitted that the non-trading restaurants were a significant drain on resources.
"It was more efficient to close them," he said.
The group has been putting restaurants up for sale over the past two years and currently has 28 for sale across the country, 27 of which have ceased trading.
Evans declined to confirm the amount the company is losing each week, but judging by industry averages for restaurant rental the loss is at least £1,000 each week for each non-trading restaurant.
The disposal programme, he said, is on schedule, with nine properties under offer and a further six at "solicitor stage".