Urban Dining looks set to put its Tootsies restaurant chain up for sale in the New Year after its chief executive, John Metcalf, quit in a boardroom shake-up.
Despite opening six new Tootsies in September and October, the company announced last week that recent trading had not been good.
This, coupled with a sharp fall in Urban's share price since its market debut in May 2004, has led to a review of the 30-strong Tootsies business and the abandonment of its consolidation strategy.
Finance director Tim Woodcock was disappointed the strategy had not worked. "Tootsies remains a good cash-generative brand that should make an attractive purchase for a trade or financial buyer," he said.
Broker Oriel Securities welcomed Urban's decision to cut its losses and quit the "dog-eat-dog casual dining market".