Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s has entered administration, becoming the first major casual dining casualty of the coronavirus lockdown.

The chain, which has 71 UK restaurants and approximately 2,000 employees, has hired FRP to oversee its administration.

FRP had been brought in late last week to consider emergency restructuring options.

The administrator said the chain faced “significant cashflow pressures” driven by the closure of its restaurants on the back of the coronavirus pandemic following “a sustained period of challenging trading conditions”.

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator and partner at FRP, said: “We are operating in unprecedented times and the issues currently facing the hospitality sector following the onset of Covid-19 are well documented.

“In the absence of being able to continue to trade Carluccio’s, in the short term, we are urgently focused on the options available to preserve the future of the business and protect its employees.”

FRP is engaging with “interested parties regarding the sale of all or parts of the business”. In the meantime, it plans to furlough the majority of the company’s 2,000 employees and use the government-backed Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

In an effort to stave off collapse, the restaurant chain’s staff had taken a pay cut of 50% for March and the company had withheld rental payments from its landlords.

Carluccio’s is expected to be one of a wave of administrations in the casual dining sector amid the UK-wide coronavirus closedown.

Byron Burger, which reportedly held emergency merger talks with Carluccio’s last week, has reportedly hired KPMG to advise on surviving the coronavirus outbreak.

Last week The Restaurant Group, which owns Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s, put its Chiquito restaurant chain and its Food & Fuel chain of pubs into administration.