A sharp reduction in sales for 2019 combined with banking fraud has led the directors of Abokado to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).
The 23-strong group of healthy grab-and-go options founded by Mark and Lindsay Lilley offers a menu of sushi, salads, hot pots, breakfast and coffee.
The group said it was likely that the CVA would mean the closure of "a number of underperforming sites".
It recorded like-for-like sales up 3% for the year to 31 March 2018, but said that sales softened from autumn 2018 onward. This dip accelerated in 2019.
Abokado said it had also suffered a "significant sophisticated online banking fraud" that had impacted working capital and compounded its trading issues.
It added that the fraud was under investigation but that it did not expect to recover any of the cash.
Abokado said the CVA would secure the viability of the business and provide the best outcome for creditors, suppliers, customers and employees.
Chief executive Mark Lilley said: “Over the last three years my team have proactively addressed the market conditions and we considered Abokado to be in a good position. The market dynamics during 2019 were unanticipated and their impact has been further compounded by the recent fraud.
"The proposed CVA will put Abokado in the best possible position to move forward in an uncertain environment. It will allow my excellent management team to continue pursuing our vision of bringing freshly made, Pacific-inspired food to more people."