Photo courtesy of Pain Quotidien

The pandemic has not been good for the restaurant industry and the outcome has affected a wide range of concepts, from kid-focused chains like Chuck E. Cheese to urban bakery / cafe concepts like Le Pain Quotidien.

But most of them have something in common: They weren’t necessarily prepared for the financial onslaught that began in March. Many had too much debt or were in decline.

In total, 17 restaurant chains and one large-scale operator have requested debt protection since the start of the pandemic. All but one have applied for Chapter 11:

Sizzler United States

The venerable chain of steakhouses declared bankruptcy this month, saying he must renegotiate the leases and reduce his debt. But it’s the number of units has decreased by 19% over the past five years. The pandemic has been particularly tough on the chain given that 40% of sales come from its popular salad bar, which is difficult to replicate on a take-out basis.

Kayser House

The the parent company of the bakery concept’s US operations declared bankruptcy earlier this month. He has about $ 73 million in secured debt, plus a $ 6.7 million paycheck protection program loan received in April. Aurify Brands has bought the debt and has an initial offer to buy the channel.

K&W Cafeteria

North Carolina-based cafeteria chain declared bankruptcy this month after the closure of nine of its branches. The 73-year-old chain, which entered the pandemic with 28 branches, is looking for a buyer.

Blue star donuts

Portland, Oregon-based gourmet donut concept has closed all eight locations and move on to a wholesale operation.

Mediterranean grills with garbanzos

Centennial, Colo.-Based fast-casual franchise has 25 locations, all but four operated by franchisees. He struggled with $ 22.5 million in negative retained earnings last year and hired a restructuring consultant in February. The decline in sales due to the pandemic has given it little choice but to seek debt protection.

Il Mulino

The upscale chain bankrupted seven of its 16 sites in August in what has been described as a “chess match” to prevent a creditor from taking control of the business.

Matchbox Food Group

The 12-unit casual dining operator has units in the DC-Maryland area as well as Texas and Florida and filed for bankruptcy to reorganize the business and shut down sites.

Californian pizza cuisine

Another well-known brand declared bankruptcy in July. He wanted to shut down some of his 200 sites and reduce his debt by $ 400 million.

Fig & Olive

The nine-unit upscale Mediterranean chain filed for bankruptcy in July. It has been plagued by lawsuits and other challenges dating back to 2015.

PNJ International

The only franchisee on this list, NPC International, is a big one. The largest operator of Pizza Hut and Wendy’s stores declared bankruptcy in July and is selling in whole or in part. The company has $ 900 million in debt and was considered at risk of bankruptcy even before the pandemic. NPC closes 300 Pizza Hut stores.

Crooked root

Texas-based burger chain has filed Chapter 11 proceedings for several of its restaurants, hoping this would allow the company to help keep the business afloat.

Chuck E. Cheese

The biggest restaurant chain to go bankrupt is Chuck E. Cheese, which has a billion dollars in debt and has ended up in bankruptcy court as a result of lawsuits brought by homeowners. The company recently received a $ 200 million lifeline and wants to destroy some $ 7 billion in paper tickets.

BarFly Ventures

HopCat brewpub’s parent chain filed for bankruptcy in June, blaming the pandemic’s impact on sales at beer-centric restaurants.

The Daily Bread

The fast-casual chain filed for bankruptcy in May. Aurify Brands bought the chain for $ 3 million and will reopen 35 of its 98 locations.

Fresh restaurants from the garden

The only restaurant chain on this list to actually shut operations, Garden Fresh decided that a world with limited buffet service was not a viable option. The company filed for Chapter 7, closing all of its 97 locations.

Sustainable restaurant operations

Bamboo Sushi and QuickFish parent company filed for bankruptcy in May, when he had 10 locations.


The 28-unit New York-style deli concept tabled in April, accusing the shutdown of taking a profitable concept and making it unprofitable.

FoodFirst Global Restaurants

The first American restaurant company to go bankrupt after the pandemic, the owner of Bravo Fresh Italian and Brio Italian Mediterranean eventually sold to Robert Earl, who bought 45 of his 92 locations. The price: $ 50,000 in cash plus $ 29 million in canceled credit and assumed liabilities.


The German chain was the first concept to file for bankruptcy after the pandemic began in April, although she had financial problems long before. The concept operated six units in the United States

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