Pizza Express is to close 73 of its UK restaurants with the potential loss of 1,100 jobs.
The chain, which at the moment has 454 UK outlets, said it had cut a deal to reduce rent costs.
It said although most of its restaurants have been profitable over the past three years, earnings had been declining.
Pizza Express also confirmed it had hired advisers from Lazard to lead a sale process for the business.
It is currently majority owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital.
Zoe Bowley, Pizza Express’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, said: “Unfortunately, the impact of the global pandemic has meant that we have had to make some incredibly tough decisions to safeguard Pizza Express for the long term.”
Ms Bowley said that in most cases, the stores selected for closure are near to another Pizza Express that has already reopened or will be reopening soon.
She added that the process “will protect the jobs of over 9,000 of our colleagues”…