- The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in an era of mass retail bankruptcies, and not even chain restaurants are immune.
- Chain restaurants have combined to close more than 1,500 locations since the pandemic began.
- We pulled together a list of restaurant companies that have filed for bankruptcy this year. And while some remain open, others have closed all or most locations.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
It’s been a tough year for the restaurant industry and food lovers alike.
The retail apocalypse is in full swing, and not even the most beloved restaurant chains have been spared. The pandemic has so far been the downfall of many American eateries, including Chuck E. Cheese and California Pizza Kitchen.
Chain restaurants combined have permanently closed more than 1,500 locations since the pandemic began.
We pulled together a list of restaurant chains that have filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the coronavirus. Some of them are gone for good, while others might make a comeback.
Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes
All 97 locations of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes were designated to close permanently in May when its parent company, Garden Fresh, filed for bankruptcy.
Former Garden Fresh CEO John Haywood told Restaurant Business he did not “see a viable way to reopen.”
Brio Italian Mediterranean and Bravo Fresh Italian
FoodFirst Global Restaurants, the former parent company of the Italian chains Brio Italian Grille and Bravo Italian Kitchen, filed for bankruptcy in April. The brands were later bought by Earl Enterprises, which plans to keep both businesses alive.
“We’re very excited about adding these restaurants to our group and look forward to not only investing in the future of Brio and Bravo, but also the employees who are the backbone of these two restaurants,” Robert Earl, the chairman of Earl Enterprises, said in a press release.
Le Pain Quotidien, US
The US arm of the Belgian bakery chain filed for bankruptcy in late May and sold all 98 of its stores to Aurify. Aurify told Nation’s Restaurant News it planned to reopen 35 of those locations.
The beloved children’s dinnertainment company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late June after months of speculation over its looming demise.
The months before the chain’s bankruptcy filing were rife with controversy. It doled out millions of dollars in bonuses to executives in early June, Restaurant Business reported, citing a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. In May, the chain was also the subject of internet uproar when it was discovered it was selling pizza on delivery apps under the name “Pasqually’s Pizza.”
CEC Entertainment told Business Insider that Pasqually’s Pizza is a distinct brand that operates out of Chuck E. Cheese’s kitchens.
California Pizza Kitchen
The casual-dining pizza chain filed for bankruptcy at the end of July. The chain plans to close an unspecified number of its 200 restaurants to cut back on its debt load.
“No restaurateur in the world … has been unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” CEO Jim Hyatt said in the filing. “For many restaurants, the COVID-19 pandemic will be the greatest challenge they will ever face.”
Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill
The Mediterranean-style fast-casual chain filed for bankruptcy in mid-August. The Colorado-based brand had already been struggling with debt before the pandemic hit, Restaurant Business reported, citing a filing. No closures have been announced.
CEO James Park told the Denver Business Journal that all restaurants remained open, and the chain plans to open six new ones through 2021.
The Florida-based deli chain TooJay’s filed for bankruptcy in late April and was bought on September 10 by Monroe Capital LLC. Most of the chain’s stores have remained open, though several others have closed.
The French bakery chain Maison Kayser filed for bankruptcy on September 11 and was bought by Aurify Brands, the same company that bought Le Pain Quotidien’s US locations.
Some locations remain closed, and it is unclear how many Aurify plans to reopen.
The US branch of the steak and seafood chain filed for bankruptcy on September 21, and said in a statement that the filing was “a direct result of the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the casual dining sector.”
The chain, which was purchased by Australian-based investment firm Pacific Equity Partners in 2005, has been in a slow but steady decline over the years, and currently has 107 locations in the US, only 14 of which are company-owned. Sizzler did not say how many of its locations it would close.
Ruby Tuesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 7 after closing 150 restaurants so far in 2020.
Ruby Tuesday said it planned to keep restaurants open and operating “business as usual” throughout its reorganization.
Ruby Tuesday stopped paying pensions for at least 112 retirees on July 21, months before declaring insolvency on September 2,Business Insider reported in late September. The chain received millions in small-business loans from the Paycheck Protection Program earlier this year.
Rubio’s, the Mexican fast-casual chain with locations in California, Arizona, and Nevada, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on October 26.
It had permanently closed more than 20 restaurants due to the pandemic.
Friendly’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on November 1.
It also announced it had reached an agreement to be acquired by restaurant investor group Amici Partners Group, LLC for just under $US2 million.
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