11 Restaurants That Filed for Bankruptcy Amid COVID-19

Closed restaurant
Kmpzzz / Shutterstock.com

When the coronavirus pandemic finally ends, you might want to celebrate with a meal at your favorite restaurant. But will the eatery still be in business when that day arrives?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 110,000 restaurants across the U.S. have closed their doors permanently or long-term, according to the National Restaurant Association. That represents 17% of all restaurants, putting the industry into “an economic free fall,” the association says.

The damage has impacted mom-and-pop restaurants and big chains alike. Following are some of the biggest and best-known restaurants that have filed for bankruptcy protection amid COVID-19.

Some of these restaurants already have closed for good, as generally happens after a company files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Other restaurants aim to survive the pandemic by reorganizing their finances, which is often part of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

1. Sizzler

Sizzler
Ken-Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Sizzler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. The company had received between $2 million and $5 million in federal loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, which we detail in “12 Ways the Government Is Helping You Amid the Pandemic.”

In January, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California approved Sizzler’s reorganization plan.

2. TooJay’s

TooJay's
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

In May, Florida-based TooJay’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Even a $6.4 million loan from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program could not prevent the filing.

The asset management firm Monroe Capital later purchased the chain.

3. Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Halloween last year was especially scary for fans of this chain, which declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early October.

In late November, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware gave Ruby Tuesday’s parent company, RTI Holdings, approval to begin the process of selling the chain.

4. Rubio’s

Rubio's
Cassiohabib / Shutterstock.com

Rubio’s also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. The fish-taco chain announced it would restructure more than $82 million in debt, a figure that included a $10 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program.

In late November, Rubio’s Restaurants Inc. reached an agreement to repay a portion of the debt it owed to unsecured creditors as part of the process of emerging from bankruptcy.

5. Bar Louie

Bar Louie
Jennylynn602 / Shutterstock.com

In January 2020 — just as the coronavirus was reaching U.S. shores — Bar Louie filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The gastropub chain closed 38 locations around that time, but the drop in customers due to the coronavirus forced an additional 22 closures. In April, the company agreed to a sale to secured lender Antares Capital LP, which took on $82.5 million in debt in the process.

6. Brio

Brio Tuscan Grille
Gretchen Gunda Enger / Shutterstock.com

In April, FoodFirst Global Restaurants — the former parent company of this Italian chain — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Earl Enterprises eventually bought the brands.

7. Bravo

Bravo restaurant
Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com

Bravo is a sister Italian cuisine restaurant to Brio and has seen the same fate, purchased by Earl Enterprises after former parent company FoodFirst Global Restaurants’ bankruptcy filing.

8. Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes

Souplantation
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Garden Fresh Restaurants — the parent company of buffet-style restaurants Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes — wilted in the face of the pandemic. It threw in the towel in May, declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The chain closed down all of its locations permanently.

9. Chuck E. Cheese

Chuck E. Cheese's
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

This chain — beloved by children everywhere — announced that the fun was over for a while when parent company CEC Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June.

After clearing $705 million in debt obligations, the company emerged from bankruptcy at the end of last year. At the time, David McKillips, the CEO of CEC Entertainment, said:

“Under new ownership, and with the leadership of our new Board, the CEC team is excited to continue delivering memories, entertainment, and pizza for kids and families around the world for generations to come.”

10. California Pizza Kitchen

Osugi / Shutterstock.com

The pandemic helped turn California dreamin’ into a nightmare for this chain, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July. It announced in November that it had emerged from that bankruptcy.

In a press release, California Pizza Kitchen said it shed more than $220 million of debt and was “focused on expanding its global franchise footprint.”

11. Friendly’s

Friendly's
Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock.com

If at first you don’t succeed …

In November, Friendly’s filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time in less than a decade. The chain also announced a plan to sell “substantially all of its assets.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
14 Products That Keep Foods Fresh Longer
14 Products That Keep Foods Fresh Longer

We’ve rounded up innovative Amazon purchases to lengthen the life of your favorite foods and beverages.

9 Ways to Get Affordable Vet Care
9 Ways to Get Affordable Vet Care

Medical care for your furry friends can be expensive. Here are some tips to get affordable vet care.

It’s Worth Paying More for These 7 Things
It’s Worth Paying More for These 7 Things

Sometimes, the difference in quality makes it worthwhile to open your wallet a little wider.

9 Houseplants That Remove Toxins From Your Indoor Air
9 Houseplants That Remove Toxins From Your Indoor Air

These plants may also do everything from reduce the amount of dust in your home to improve your productivity.

Beware These 3 Tax Penalties on Retirement Accounts
Beware These 3 Tax Penalties on Retirement Accounts

Protecting a nest egg is tough — but you can make the situation far worse with some boneheaded mistakes.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

This Simple Mistake Might Weaken Your COVID-19 Vaccination
This Simple Mistake Might Weaken Your COVID-19 Vaccination

Avoid doing this before you get vaccinated.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic
11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic

Many goods we take for granted have become tough to find in 2021.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently
10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day
29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend to save.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.