Pizza Express is reportedly mulling the closure of 75 of its 470 venues in the UK, though the final number will depend on formal talks with landlords.

The figure will not exceed 20% of its estate, Sky News reported, although it is likely to hit hundreds of its 8,000 staff.

READ: Tasty lays off a third of staff ahead of expected weak trading

The dough balls chain, which is owned by Chinese investor Hony Capital, had been struggling well before the crisis, with a £1.1bn debt pile rumoured back in November.

Several high street restaurants have announced a spate of redundancies this month, including Tasty PLC (LON:TAST) and Bella Italia owner Casual Dining Group, while operator of eateries in airports and train stations SSP Group plc (LON:SSPG) is also considering 5,000 job cuts.

Shares in Fulham Shore PLC (LON:FUL), owner of rival Franco Manca, shed 7% to 6.16p late on Thursday in sympathy.