Retail

Le Pain Quotidien Is Latest Food Chain To File For Bankruptcy

Le Pain Quotidien Files For Bankruptcy

Le Pain Quotidien, the U.S. division of the Belgian bakery chain, has filed for bankruptcy protection, as the fast-casual outlet said it can’t survive on takeout and delivery alone.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, the eatery hoped to avert a complete liquidation of its 98 locations in New York, the Mid-Atlantic, California, Illinois and Florida with a proposed $3 million sale of the business to Aurify Brands LLC.

The New York-based company owns and operates fast-casual restaurants including some Five Guys locations, Melt Shop and The Little Beet. 

Under the terms of the deal, Aurify Brands would allow at least 35 of its U.S. restaurants to reopen, but the rest are at risk. More than half of its revenue came from the New York City area, according to a court filing.

Chief Restructuring Officer Steven Fleming said in a sworn declaration in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware that COVID-19 exacerbated the company’s struggles with competition and a lack of online ordering, the news service reported.

Le Pain Quotidien had about 2,500 employees before the pandemic. It would have about 1,000 if the sale goes through, Fleming said in the court filing. 

He told the WSJ that most of the dining industry’s recent growth has come from delivery and takeout sales, rather than Le Pain Quotidien’s casual dine-in concept. “Consumers had gravitated more toward the ‘grab-n-go’ concept, which provided for quicker transactions by using a simplified menu and a greater level of self-service,” Fleming told the news service.

SeafoodSource.com has reported that a number of U.S. restaurant chains have filed for bankruptcy, while others have temporarily shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

West Palm Beach, Florida-based TooJay’s Original Gourmet Deli, which operates 24 restaurants, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company slashed its staff of more than 1,100 in February down to 290 as of the end of March, the report said.

FoodFirst Global Restaurants, which operates the Bravo Italian Mediterranean and Brio Italian Mediterranean restaurant chains in Florida, recently filed for bankruptcy after closing 71 of its 92 locations.

Boston-based Legal Sea Foods, which has 37 locations, has closed temporarily. Roger Berkowitz, president and CEO, posted the announcement on the company’s website on March 16. “Effective today, we are pausing our operations, company-wide. We do this out of an abundance of caution. Our main priority remains the health and wellbeing of our employees, guests and the communities in which we operate. We hope to be able to welcome you back soon, once it’s safe.”

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