Corporate bankruptcy filings increased significantly during the first months of the pandemic, according to a 2020 study from Harvard Business School. Between January 1 and August 31, filings with assets valued at $50 million or more shot up nearly 200% on a one-year basis.
This Texas-based pizza chain's systemwide sales dropped 10% from 2017 to 2019 before the pandemic. The pandemic caused a $2.7 million net loss in 2020, and the chain filed for bankruptcy in January 2021. It was acquired by D&G Investors, a group associated with Applebee's operator SSCP Management. The chain announced renewed interest in the brand in October and credited its game rooms.
Dine-in sales at California Pizza Kitchen plunged 77% in the last week of March 2020, and the brand lost more than a tenth of its stores by the end of the year. CPK declared bankruptcy in 2020 owing $403 million.
CraftWorks Holdings, the steakhouse chain's parent firm, entered bankruptcy in March 2020, furloughing 18 thousand employees. Nashville-based SPB Hospitality later bought CraftWorks for $93 million.
Buffet chains, like Golden Corral, were hard-hit by the pandemic. In 2021, the business closed a fourth of its outlets after sales dropped 60% in 2020.Two of its franchisees went bankrupt: 1069 Restaurant Group of Orlando declared bankruptcy in late 2020, followed by Platinum Corral in April 2021. The operators owned over 12% of Golden Corral's locations.
Friendly's has declared bankruptcy twice in the past twelve years—once in 2011, and then again in 2020. Sales at the family dining chain plummeted 40% during the pandemic, and store closures totaled nearly a fifth of the overall footprint.