O'Brien's Sandwich Bars has placed its UK subsidiary into administration after being hit by poor trading.
The Ireland-based chain, which has 109 franchised stores in the UK, said it had taken the step for the benefit of franchisees and to protect jobs.
"Our first priority is to secure jobs and the future livelihoods of our franchisees in the UK in the face of the very difficult trading conditions we have been experiencing," said an O'Brien's spokesman.
"We are optimistic that a relatively small number of stores will be closed as part of the administration, and that the restructured group can overcome the worst downturn in our industry since we commenced trading over 20 years ago."
A successful outcome will hinge on the company achieving reduced rental terms with its landlords, the spokesman added.
Administrator Cameron Gunn at Resolve Capital, who is handling the process, said he was confident a deal could be done to save the business.
O'Brien's Ireland is unaffected by its UK subsidiary's troubles.
By Chris Druce
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