Wahaca is set to close a third of its estate in a bid to secure its future beyond the coronavirus crisis, MCA’s sister title Big Hospitality reports.

In an email sent out to staff this morning, the Mexican-themed restaurant chain announced it was to close 10 of its 28 restaurants - Bluewater, Bristol, Brixton, Charlotte Street, Chichester, Manchester, Liverpool, Kentish Town, Southampton and St Pauls - following a “dramatic” increase in rents as a percentage of sales at its city centre locations.

In order to facilitate its plan, the group is exploring various options, including a company voluntary agreement (CVA), but has told staff it will “try and save jobs” wherever possible.

Although it added it will only be reopening restaurants that will not lose money in order to “avoid putting the entire business and every job at risk.”

Over the past four months, Wahaca has seen a significant depletion of cash reserves as a result of its enforced closure, and has had to raise new equity to allow it to reopen a selection of its sites.

“These have been the hardest decisions of our lives and we have looked at this from every angle with the sole objective of looking after as many of our teams and restaurants as we can without having to close business for good like so many other have had to do,” founders Mark Selby and Thomasina Meirs told staff.

“Every business at the moment has had to make what 6 months ago would have been completely unthinkable decisions.

“[We] apologise unreservedly to those affected and once again thank you for everything you have done for us.

“[We] do believe we will go on to achieve amazing things but today we pause and say thank you to all the amazing people leaving us.”