COVID-19 Has Bankrupted These Restaurants This Year

Workers in the restaurant industry have lost double the number of job losses than any other NAICS industry. From March through June, the industry has laid off 3,130,900 workers. Restaurants are on track to lose $240 billion in revenue by the end of the year. Economists at the National Restaurant Association (founded 1919) agree, “Restaurants were hit harder than any other industry during the pandemic, and still have the longest climb back to pre-coronavirus employment levels.”

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many restaurants to seek bankruptcy protection, or simply dissolve and cease operating altogether. Analysts using Bloomberg data released a list today of restaurants citing COVID-19 in bankruptcy filings this year.

Restaurants with over $1 billion in assets in their bankruptcy filings are listed below.

  • CEC Entertainment, parent company of Chuck E. Cheese (see our full analysis of this bankruptcy here)
  • NPC International, largest franchisee of Pizza Hut and Wendy’s

Restaurants with over $50 million in assets in their bankruptcy filings are listed below.

  • Sur La Table
  • Luxury Dining Group, parent company of Fig & Olive
  • Le Pain Quotidien U.S.
  • Garden Fresh Restaurants
  • Tuesday Morning
  • TooJay’s Gourmet Deli

Restaurants with less than $50 million in assets are listed below.

  • Sustainable Restaurant Group, parent company of QuickFish and Bamboo Sushi
  • CFRA Holdings, franchisee of iHOP
  • FoodFirst Restaurants, parent company of Brio and Bravo
  • RWDT Foods, franchisee of Denny’s
  • KLJ Orchard Venues
  • Rollo Mio Artisan Bakery
  • Northern Bear
  • Barfly Ventures, parent company of HopCat, Grand Rapids Brewing, and Stella’s Lounge
  • Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery
  • Twisted Root Burger
  • Bulls Head Diner

These bankruptcies juxtapose starkly with this week’s disclosures by the U.S. Treasury that several billionaire-owned restaurants received millions of dollars in free government handouts. Included in the Treasury’s spreadsheet were John Paulson’s  P. F. Chang’s, Robert de Niro’s Nobu, Graycliff Partners’ Legal Sea Foods, and a franchisee of the Reimann family’s Panera Bread.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy process allows a company to restructure debt and relieve itself from creditors’ demands while it reorganizes or raises new capital. In some circumstances, a company that proceeds through Chapter 11 emerges again and achieves success.

Marvel Entertainment, which filed for bankruptcy in 1996, is a famous success story and ultimately was acquired by Disney for $4.2 billion. General Growth Properties went bankrupt in 2009, emerged from Chapter 11 the following year, and grew exponentially until it was ultimately acquired for $27.5 billion in 2018.

Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company, for example, has already announced that 266 U.S. locations will remain open during the Chapter 11 restructuring process. Likewise, Pizza Hut and Wendy’s franchisee NPC International has announced that most of its 1,200 Pizza Hut locations and 400 Wendy’s locations will remain open.

Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash

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