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Most Applebee's Locations In This State Are Going Bankrupt

Wisconsin's largest Applebee's franchisee just filed for bankruptcy.
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A franchisee which operates the majority of Wisconsin's Applebee's locations is filing for bankruptcy, leaving the future of the brand in the midwestern state uncertain.

Wisconsin Apple LLC owns 25 Applebee's locations across the state that will remain open while the Chapter 11 restructuring takes place. According to Applebee's website, there are currently 31 total locations operating in Wisconsin. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)

Struggles to keep their restaurants' doors open was the main reason for the bankruptcy filing in the first place, according to the court filing. "Rather than let the restaurants go dark and have over 600 employees without a job, this Chapter 11 was filed," the company's president, Seenu Kastori, said in the filing.

The company, which owns dozens of other Applebee's locations in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, acquired the Wisconsin restaurants from another franchisee in November of 2019, after they had been on the market for more than two years.

According to the bankruptcy filing, operations were smooth in the first few months of new leadership, improving dramatically on Applebee's service grades compared to those received by previous management.

However, once the pandemic hit, the company was forced to close all of their restaurants due to government mandated shutdowns as well as several employees testing positive for COVID-19 throughout the summer and fall months. Each time that would happen, the restaurants where they work have to be closed, fumigated, and sanitized before they can safely reopen, Kastori said.

The franchise is shooting for debtor-in-posession financing to help them stay afloat until sales take off again or units get sold off, if necessary.

Other large franchisees that have filed for bankruptcy this year include largest operators of Golden Corral, Pizza Hut, and Wendy's.

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