The coronavirus pandemic pushed the company to file for bankruptcy as they had to temporarily close their dining rooms

By Georgia Slater
September 22, 2020 01:20 PM
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Credit: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty

Fast-casual steakhouse chain Sizzler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, joining a long list of restaurants struggling financially amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The California-based restaurant attributed the filing to their decline in sales due to the lack of in-person dining amid COVID-19, Business Insider reported.

The brand is filing for the 14 company-operated restaurants and will be using the process to renegotiate its leases and minimize debt.

"Many restaurant brands across the country have suffered because of COVID-19 and Sizzler USA is no exception," Sizzler President Chris Perkins said in a statement. "Our current financial state is a direct consequence of the pandemic's economic impact due to long-term indoor dining closures and landlords' refusal to provide necessary rent abatements."

The 62-year-old company hopes to complete the bankruptcy process in 120 days and keep their restaurants open during that time.

According to Restaurant Business, the brand aims to "support our employees and franchisees" amid the bankruptcy and hopes to "build a stronger future."

The company's more than 90 franchised restaurants will not be affected by the filing.

According to CNN, Sizzler began in Culver City in 1958 and pioneered the fast-casual industry which later added restaurants like Applebee's and TGI Fridays.

The restaurant's main goal is that "everyone could enjoy a great steak dinner at an affordable price," according to Sizzler's website.

Sizzler is one of many restaurants to file for bankruptcy this year because of COVID-19.

As restaurants are unable to provide indoor dining at full capacity, they have to rely on delivery or take out to cover their costs.

On July 30, casual dining chain California Pizza Kitchen announced it was filing for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

The move allows the restaurant "the ability to close unprofitable locations, reduce its long-term debt load, and quickly emerge from bankruptcy as a much stronger company," the chain said in a press release.

Jim Hyatt, CEO of CPK, said in a separate message on the company website that the chain had already shuttered some of its locations prior to the filing, citing "the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lease related challenges with our landlords."

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