Casual Dining Group, the owner of brands including Las Iguanas, Café Rouge and Bella Italia, has revealed it is exploring a sale of the business.
The group said it had received "strong expressions of interest" and a sale is one of several options it is considering for the business, which employs more than 6,000 people with nearly 250 restaurants across the UK.
A spokesperson for Casual Dining Group said: "On 18 May, as a protective measure, the company filed a Notice of Intention (NOI) to appoint an administrator. This is an unprecedented situation for our industry and, like many other companies across the UK, we have been working closely with our advisors to consider our next steps.
"While in the protective period following the filing of our NOI, Casual Dining Group has received strong expressions of interest from interested parties, both trade buyers and investors, regarding a potential sale of the business. This is one of a number of options that we are considering as we formulate a plan for the company.
"We recognise that this is a very difficult time for our employees and we will do everything we can to support them through this period of uncertainty."
It is the latest development in the casual dining market, which has seen Carluccio's fall into administration and brands including Pret, Busaba and Prezzo appoint advisors to see them through the coronavirus crisis.