Bankruptcy filings continue cropping up across the casual dining restaurant industry. Unprecedented financial troubles brought on by the pandemic are forcing some of the longest-standing chains to restructure their businesses, shutter locations, and if all else fails, shut down for good. (To find out which restaurants may be leaving your town, check out 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)
The latest victim of this year's turmoil in the food service industry is Sizzler USA. One of the oldest and most affordable steakhouse chains is declaring chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to try and reduce the debt accumulated by "long-term indoor dining closures and landlords' refusal to provide necessary rent abatement," according to the company's statement.
While this doesn't mean the chain will disappear, some store closures are possible as the brand tries to renegotiate leases of the 14 company-owned locations. The 90 locations operated by franchises shouldn't be affected by the filing, according to the statement.
Sizzler, with headquarters in Mission Viejo, California, was founded in 1958 as one of the first casual dining steakhouses for the masses. It enjoyed great popularity during the 1970s and 1980s when it operated hundreds of locations across Western United States. The chain is known for steak, seafood, and an unlimited salad bar, which has been shut down in most of their locations like many other buffet-style services this year. (Related: 19 Things You Must Know Before Eating at Buffet Restaurants.)
According to Nation's Restaurant News, the steakhouse is currently serving customers at 41 dine-in locations, and is offering outdoor seating at only 38 locations. The effects of the shutdowns were exacerbated by the fact that the majority of Sizzler's restaurants are located in California, which has seen ongoing restrictions of indoor dining due to a spike in coronavirus cases this summer.
This is the company's second bankruptcy filing. The first one, which took place in 1996, prompted the closure of 130 Sizzler locations.
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