PizzaExpress has said it could close around 67 of its UK restaurants, putting up to 1,100 jobs at risk.
The chain, which also said it has put itself up for sale, blamed the move on the “significantly more challenging environment” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bosses argue reducing the size of the business will help protect the majority of staff.
The company said it is planning to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in the “near future” in a bid to push down its rents.
While the outcome had “yet to be decided”, Pizza Express said the shake-up may lead to the closure of around 15% of its 449 restaurants in the UK, affecting 1,100 staff.
The company added: “This decision is a very difficult one; however, against the current unprecedented backdrop, Pizza Express believes reducing the size of its estate will help it to protect 9,000 jobs.”