- The 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 eight restaurant companies that have filed for bankruptcy this year due to the coronavirus. 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 California Pizza Kitchen.
Chain restaurants combined have permanently closed more than 1,500 locations since the pandemic began.
We pulled together a list of eight restaurant chains that have filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the coronavirus. Some of them are gone for good, while others might yet make a comeback.
In a devastating blow to fans, all 97 locations of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes closed permanently in May when parent company Garden Fresh filed for bankruptcy.
Former Garden Fresh CEO John Hayward 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 Italian chains Brio Italian Grille and Bravo Italian Kitchen, filed for bankruptcy in April. The brands were later bought by Earl Enterprises, with 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, chairman of Earl Enterprises, said in a press release.Le Pain Quotidien, US
The Belgian bakery chain filed for bankruptcy in late May, and sold all 98 of its US locations to Aurify. Aurify told Nation's Restaurant News it plans to reopen 35 of those locations.CEC Entertainment
The beloved children's dinnertainment company filed for 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 — doling out millions of dollars in pre-bankruptcy bonuses to executives in early June. 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 locations in order 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 chain had already been struggling with debt before the pandemic hit. No closures have been announced.
CEO James Park told the Denver Business Journal that all locations remain open, and the chain plans to open six new ones through 2021.TooJay's
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 locations have remained open, although several others have closed.Maison Kayser
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.