The owner of Frankie & Benny's has revealed it is in talks with its landlords over restructuring plans - which could see the closure of up to 120 of its sites.

It is understood that the casual dining business - owned by The Restaurant Group (TRG) - is set to permanently close between 100 and 120 restaurants, in a move which will affect between 2,000 and 3,000 employees.

While the move could see the New York-Italian themed restaurant chain disappear from a number of locations across the country, it might lead to some good news for fans of Wagamama.

Glasgow Times:

What has the company told investors?

The company, which had not commented on the closure reports, told investors on Monday, June 8, that it is “in discussions with our landlords regarding potential restructuring options for our leisure estate”.

TRG’s leisure restaurant business primarily consists of Frankie & Benny’s, but also covers its Wagamama, Coast to Coast and Garfunkel’s chains.

Glasgow Times:

What about Wagamama?

While the company is focusing on re-evaluating its portfolio of Frankie & Benny's restaurants, it has said that its Wagamama business, airport concession and pub operations - all of which are also owned by The Restaurant Group - will not be affected by these discussions.

Earlier in the year, the company unveiled plans in February to close a large number of Frankie & Benny's stores, but vowed to limit job losses by converted a small number of branches into Wagamama and 'redeploy' as many staff as possible to work there.

However, since fresh news emerged of the company's cost-cutting plans last week, it remains unclear if The Restaurant Group are still considering such an idea.

The restaurant sector is “facing exceptional challenges” due to lockdown

TRG stressed that the restaurant sector is “facing exceptional challenges” due to the lockdown, and was “already facing significant challenges prior to the onset of Covid-19”.

In March, TRG shut 60 of its Chiquito Mexican-style outlets, as well as its Food & Fuel chain of pubs, after placing the two sub-brands into administration.

The company, which currently has about 22,000 staff on furlough, is one of the largest restaurant operators in Britain.

What have business analysts said?

Analysts at Citi said the company would benefit from disposing of its whole leisure business, saying that it comprises nearly half of the group’s sites but is likely to account for only 20 per cent of the company’s profits in the 2021 financial  year.

The brokerage said: “A clean exit would leave the group focused on its growth businesses, which we think have stronger prospects and would command a higher multiple.”

Shares in the company moved 5 per cent higher in 77.7p in early trading on June 8.