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Sizzler Steakhouse Chain Files for Bankruptcy Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

It seems like the coronavirus pandemic has gotten a hold of another restaurant chain. According to Nation's Restaurant News, Sizzler USA filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Northern District in California on September 21, 2020. It's not all bad news though, the restaurant brand only submitted a bankruptcy filing for its 14 company-owned restaurants, which means its 93 locations owned by franchisees are safe from the bankruptcy process.

What is Sizzler?

Headquartered in Mission Viejo, California, Sizzler restaurants are known for their steak, seafood, and salad bar items with locations in California, Washington, Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico, Idaho, and Utah. Founded in 1958 in Culver City, California by Del and Helen Johnson, the restaurant gained popularity by promoting full steak dinners with an optional salad bar. In 1996 the company filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. bankruptcy court and closed over 130 locations. The company was sold to Pacific Equity Partners in 2005, and then in 2011, Sizzler USA bought back the American portion of the chain.

Sizzler Files for Bankruptcy

President and CEO Chris Perkins cites the bankruptcy filing is a direct result of the financial impact of the pandemic, including "landlords' refusal to provide necessary rent abatement."

Our current financial state is a direct consequence of the pandemic's economic impact due to long-term indoor dining closures and landlords' refusal to provide necessary rent abatements. But today's decisive action to build a stronger future for Sizzler will allow us not only to do everything we can to support our employees and franchisees during this time, but also to be better-positioned for growth as we emerge to become a more vibrant company.

Sizzler Vintage Tee

In a majority of restaurant locations, the Unlimited Craft Salad Bar has closed due to local health codes. Restaurants in California have been hit hard, where indoor dining rooms and indoor dining has been restricted for weeks. The company said 23 restaurants remain temporarily closed. Six locations have closed permanently in direct correlation to the pandemic.

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