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A Popular Chicken Chain Just Declared Bankruptcy & Closed 4 Stores

The once-thriving chain has struggled with a series of financial and legal troubles.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

Plenty of American chicken chains are thriving in 2024 with strong sales and plans to open dozens or even hundreds of new locations. However, the future is looking decidedly more uncertain for another popular chicken restaurant that just had to resort to bankruptcy.

Sticky's Finger Joint—a New York-based chain that specializes in chicken tenders, sandwiches, and wraps—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 25, Restaurant Business Magazine reported. Sticky's once appeared to be a thriving brand, garnering positive reviews from customers and expanding to 16 restaurants across New York and New Jersey.

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However, like many of its fellow restaurant chains, Sticky's struggled from a drop in sales and store closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. It currently operates 12 restaurants—nine in New York and three in New Jersey—after shuttering four locations ahead of the bankruptcy declaration.

Sticky's Finger Joint store exterior
Sticky's Finger Joint / Facebook

According to Restaurant Business Magazine, its fortunes didn't improve much after the pandemic due to weak customer foot traffic and inflation that put more financial pressure on the business. A series of legal issues haven't helped matters either. After exiting the lease for its corporate office early in 2021, a court awarded their landlord $600,000 in damages, though Sticky's has appealed the decision. The chain is also facing a trademark infringement lawsuit from the barbecue company Sticky Fingers, QSR Magazine reported.

These legal battles have resulted in additional financial strain for the struggling company. However, the Chapter 11 filing could allow Sticky's to reorganize its debts and stay in business.

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Sticky's has now joined a fast-growing list of bankruptcies that are shaking up the food industry in 2024. The Florida-based Tex-Mex chain Tijuana Flats recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has closed 40 locations since the start of the year. Tijuana Flats announced its bankruptcy a week after the popular Midwestern ice cream and dairy company Oberweis Dairy declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy to "seek debt relief" as it pursues a sale, according to a media statement. The business already has two potential buyers lined up, CBS News reported.

After struggling with high food and labor costs and significant operating losses, Red Lobster may also be nearing bankruptcy. Bloomberg, citing unidentified sources familiar with the matter, reported earlier in April that the seafood chain is considering its own Chapter 11 filing. However, the sources said a final decision on bankruptcy has yet to be made.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe