The BBC has reported that a “large number” of Frankie & Benny’s restaurants are to close.

It said an email to staff sent by the Restaurant Group says many sites are “no longer viable to trade and will remain closed permanently.”

“The Covid-19 crisis has significantly impacted our ability to trade profitably, so we’ve taken the tough decision to close these restaurants now,” the email said.

“Unfortunately, unless there are any suitable alternative roles identified, it’s likely your role will be made redundant.”

TRG’s leisure arm, made up of Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito’s, has been under pressure for some time.

It closed 18 Leisure sites in 2019, eight of which were converted to Wagamama, leaving 350 sites as at 29th December 2019.

It had planned to cut that down to between 260 and 275 sites by end of 2021 through a combination of exercising break clauses, lease expiries, selective conversions and disposals, a reduction of 25%, thanks to what TRG described as “chronic overcapacity in the sector and significant cost pressures particularly due to labour costs”. 

In March, TRG reported that 61 out of 80 Chiquito’s would close permanently.

A spokesman for TRG declined to comment.