THE future of the Bella Italia restaurant in Dunfermline's Fife Leisure Park is in doubt with the parent company on the brink of administration.

The diner's owners, the Casual Dining Group, said the industry faced an "unprecedented situation" and the move would give them time to "formulate a plan.

Across the UK, it employs 6,000 workers at Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge and confirmed a notice of intent to appoint administrators had been filed at the high court.

A spokeswoman said: "As is widely acknowledged, this is an unprecedented situation for our industry and, like many other companies across the UK, the directors of Casual Dining Group are working closely with our advisers as we consider our next steps.

"These notifications are a prudent measure in light of the company's position and the wider situation.

"These notifications will also protect the company from any threatened potential legal action from landlords while we review the detail of the government advice, and formulate a plan for the company in these difficult times."

Restaurant chains have been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic after the lockdown forced them to shut their doors in March.

Leaders in the sector have warned that social distancing measures on reopening will significantly hinder profitability in the industry.

The Casual Dining Group, which also operates the Las Iguanas chain, said the move will give the firm 10 days' to consider "all options" for restructuring.

On Monday, the company said it was working with corporate finance firm AlixPartners over a potential restructuring programme aimed at putting the restaurant group on a sustainable footing.

It is understood that a variety of arrangements are still being looked at by the Casual Dining Group, including company voluntary arrangement (CVA) restructuring deals or the administration of specific brands.

The group, which has furloughed the majority of its staff, traded from around 250 sites across the UK before the lockdown.