This Beloved Fast-Casual Restaurant Chain Was Just Saved from Bankruptcy
While some restaurants may not recover after being forced to file for bankruptcy, for another, things are looking up! Le Pain Quotidien, known for pastries, coffee, and other breakfast staples, was recently purchased as part of a bankruptcy sale.
Its old parent company, PQ New York Inc. filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in May. In the filing, they said they would sell the cafe. Aurify Brands picked up the U.S. locations for $3 million and announced plans to reopen 35 of the 98. And more locations could be added to the sale (some already have!), meaning they could reopen, too.
But even before the pandemic, when stay-at-home orders forced restaurants to close down or switch to takeout, delivery, or drive-thru only, the Belgium-based cafe faced financial difficulties. There were once 300 locations across the world when Le Pain Quotidien was operated by PQ New York.
The cafes saved from bankruptcy may get smaller in size because of the pandemic. Some other classic features of the cafe might not be around when it reopens, like communal tables. But others, like the jazz playing from the restaurant's speakers, could.
Andy Stern, Aurify's co-CEO, says their strategy for the Le Pain Quotidien cafes saved from bankruptcy is to get them back to their roots, according to Nation's Restaurant News.
"The whole attraction here was the brand. We think it's one of the best brands in the industry and it's got tremendous opportunity," he says. "We're trying to reinvest in what the guest experience used to be…It's super important to get all the facets right, from the coffee program to the service style and even the music." Stern says they also plan to rehire about 1,200 of the 2,500 employees that were let go at the beginning of the pandemic.
The cafes included in the sale are in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., Florida, and California. Restaurants in these states have recently reclosed because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, and This State Just Shut Down Bars For At Least Another Month.