The investment firm which bought restaurant chain Prezzo in December has confirmed it is in discussions with landlords over the future of the brand.
Cain International is working with advisers at FTI Consulting amid ongoing uncertainty about the reopening timetable for hospitality.
Sky News reported that the company is exploring future rent arrangements and payment of arrears ahead of the lease forfeiture moratorium ending on 31 March.
Other options being considered include restructuring via a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) or pre-pack administration, depending on the outcome of talks.
Cain International told The Caterer: "The current, open-ended lockdown, enforced in January 2021, resulted in the required closure of all Prezzo's 178 restaurants. As such, we are continuing our discussions with stakeholders such as our landlords, to protect the future of this brilliant brand and its dedicated team."
In 2018 Prezzo closed 94 restaurants, around a third of its overall estate, under a CVA after admitting it had focused too heavily on "new openings and new concepts".
After the pandemic hit last year numerous casual dining chains, including PizzaExpress, Leon and Carluccio's, underwent restructuring.
Cain's acquisition of Prezzo in December was seen as a vote of confidence in the brand. Announcing the deal in December, Cain co-founder Jonathan Goldstein said he believed strong hospitality and leisure brands "will thrive in a post-Covid landscape".
Prezzo was founded in 2000 and has sites across the UK's high streets, leisure parks and tourist destinations.
Cain's UK hospitality and leisure portfolio includes experiential crazy golf brand Swingers; Maslow's Group, which operates private members' club Mortimer House; and the AllBright member's club for women in business.