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5 Bankrupt Restaurant Chains Making a Comeback in 2021

You haven't seen the last of these restaurant favorites.
FACT CHECKED BY Mura Dominko
garbanzo mediterranean fresh

The pandemic has taken a major toll on the restaurant industry, leading many popular restaurant chains to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection over the course of the year. And while for a few this spells the end of the road, some are exiting bankruptcy with restructured finances and gunning for a fresh start.

Although restaurant chains have collectively closed hundreds of locations nationwide during the pandemic, here are the ones you can look forward to seeing back on the scene in 2021.

Don't miss The Saddest Restaurant Closures In Your State.

1

Chuck E Cheese's

Chuck e cheeses restaurant
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The Chapter 11 process has saved Chuck E Cheese. After filing for bankruptcy in June of last year, the company has now cleared more than 705 million dollars of debt and is "beginning a new chapter," according to an email from CEO David McKillips. In 2021, the company is ready to make strides toward long-term goals, some of which include reopening all previously closed locations and introducing at-home Chuck E. Cheese experiences—even debuting a new pizza recipe.

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2

Rubio's Coastal Grill

Rubios
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After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, it was Rubio's reorganization plan that ultimately allowed the chain to cut their $82.3 million debt by $35 million. Executives predict that the quick turnaround will lead the company to rise out of bankruptcy in 2021. What remains to be seen is whether or not Rubio's Coastal Grill will reopen any of their 26 closed restaurants in Florida and Colorado, or simply keep going with the remaining California, Arizona, and Nevada locations.

3

Dave & Buster's

dave and busters
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At serious risk of going bankrupt for most of last year due to the pandemic, Dave & Buster's is looking better going into 2021. James Chambers, a partner at Hill Path Capital, one of the company's largest stockholders, will now work with the brand to manage audit, finances, and compensation. Dave & Buster's will look a bit different in 2021, after its stores reopen. According to Restaurant Business, you'll see a smaller menu, the addition of technology like tablets and kiosks, and even a partnership with a third party delivery service.

4

Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh

garbanzo mediterranean fresh
Garbanzo Med Fresh/ Facebook

After Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh declared bankruptcy, Centre Lane Partners came to the rescue. The investment company, which also owns Saladworks and Frutta Bowls, bought out the chain for 1.2 million dollars. Joining two complementary sister brands that appeal to a similar demographic puts Garbanzo on an upward trajectory in 2021. Most of the 25 locations of the chain remained open during the bankruptcy proceedings, and no new closures have been announced thus far. The emphasis of the brand will still be on serving fresh and flavorful food along with "a heart of hospitality".

5

California Pizza Kitchen

california pizza kitchen
Shutterstock

The struggle for California Pizza Kitchen began at the start of the pandemic in March, and the company ended up declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July. But finally, the chain is looking at a promising start to 2021. CPK ended the year by restructuring their financials and setting long-term goals for growth. Do expect some changes, especially towards more healthy pizza options like the BBQ Chicken Pizza—as the chain has started to see success with these items during the pandemic. The brand will also be putting more effort into its digital marketing and franchising in the United States and around the world.

And for more, check out these 108 most popular sodas ranked by how toxic they are.

Rachel Linder
Rachel is an Associate Editor responsible for compiling the daily Eat This, Not That! newsletter, making TikTok and YouTube videos for the brand, writing articles for the site, creating original graphics and providing direct assistance to the editors when needed. Read more