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5 Beloved Fast Food Chains That May Go Bankrupt Next

In a second wave of closures, these restaurants may lose hundreds of locations this year.
Red lobster restaurant

The first wave of pandemic-related restaurant closures saw the permanent shuttering of some chains, like Souplantation, while several more like Chuck E. Cheese and Le Pain Quotidien filed for bankruptcy and are still facing an uncertain future.

Even the fast food brands faring well have had to prune the number of operating locations—Dunkin' announced the closure of all locations in Speedway gas stations, while McDonald's said they are closing hundreds of locations inside Walmart stores.

Now, even more quick service restaurants seem to be on the chopping block, as leases are coming due and sales are still dwindling. And while landlords and lenders extended breaks to struggling chains earlier this year, this may not be the case much longer.

These five chains are facing bankruptcy and closures of hundreds of locations in the near future, and they may soon be leaving your area. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

1

California Pizza Kitchen

california pizza kitchen storefront
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One of the latest chains to declare bankruptcy, California Pizza Kitchen finally succumbed to months of struggling sales. While some other pizza chains thrived during the pandemic, largely boosted by the setup of a strong delivery business, the California-based chain with 250+ locations nationwide had trouble after closing its dining rooms. In order to pull through and restructure its debt, CPK will most likely close down less profitable locations in the coming months, which means this delicious pizza option could be leaving your city soon. On the other hand, This National Pizza Chain's Sales are Exploding Right Now.

2

Matchbox

matchbox
Courtesy of Matchbox

This small Washington D.C.–based gourmet pizza and burger chain struggled for years, and finally declared bankruptcy this week. Currently operating 12 locations across Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Texas, and Florida, the company said it would use the bankruptcy filings to try and renegotiate leases with their landlords, pending closure of most of its locations. Read about these 7 Beloved Burger Chains That May Close For Good.

3

Ruby Tuesday

ruby tuesday
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Ruby Tuesday announced in June it would be shutting down 150 of its 470 locations for good. And the chain still isn't out of the woods. The full-service restaurant operator had been struggling with dwindling sales for years, due to "weakness in the casual dining market and failed efforts to upscale the chain in the past," according to Restaurant Business. Even after receiving the PPP loan of $5-$10 million during the pandemic, the chain is ultimately weighing their options as leases come due for their remaining locations. Whatever the end result, Ruby Tuesday is downsizing its operations significantly. Here are more Popular Restaurants That Are Closing Permanently Due to the Pandemic.

4

Potbelly

potbelly
Shutterstock

The sandwich chain announced in June they would be closing down 100 of their 470 stores, and tried to negotiate lease buyouts with landlords of the shuttered locations in order to avoid filing for bankruptcy. As if that wasn't enough turmoil during the pandemic, the chain also came under fire for receiving a $10 million PPP loan, which they ended up giving back, and had a recent change in leadership. How they weather the rest of this year will reveal more about the company's future.

5

Red Lobster

Red lobster restaurant
Shutterstock

Restaurant Business called out Red Lobster as "one name to watch" in a line of restaurants that may be going bankrupt next. The chain had its credit rating downgraded earlier this year, placing it in the "poor quality and high credit risk" category. Some of the reasons experts predict the chain will have a harder time coping during the pandemic is its dine-in culture and its niche offering of seafood only, which makes it a tougher pick for the remaining diners. They currently operate close to 700 locations nationwide, and it remains to be seen how many of those locations will be open come 2021.

Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more
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