COVID-19 forcing more US, UK seafood restaurant closures

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively impact the restaurant industry in the United States and the United Kingdom, as popular seafood restaurant chains close locations.

In the U.S., Houston, Texas-based Pappas Restaurants group and Carlsbad, California-based Rubio’s Coastal Grill said they are closing a number of locations.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill CEO Marc Simon confrimed that the franchise is closing 12 of its approximately 170 locations.

Meanwhile, Pappas is permanently closing five of its locations in Houston, including Pappas Seafood House, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, and Pappas Shrimp Shack, Preview reported.

Despite those closures, the chain still said it plans to maintain more than 80 locations.

“We have more than 80 locations that either remained open or have reopened,” Pappas said in a press release.

In addition, large chains that serve seafood are also closing some of their restaurants. For example, Dallas, Texas-based TGI Fridays will permanently close up to 20 percent of its 386 restaurants, Bloomberg reported.

Orlando, Florida-based FoodFirst Global Restaurants, which operates the Bravo Italian Mediterranean and Brio Italian Mediterranean restaurant chains, recently filed for bankruptcy after closing 71 of its 92 locations.

Garden Fresh, the parent company of Sweet Tomatoes/ Souplantation, is closing all 97 of its restaurants after filing for bankruptcy in May.

West Palm Beach, Florida-based TooJay’s Original Gourmet Deli, which operates 24 restaurants, also recently filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The chain, which offers a number of seafood dishes, said that two of its restaurants are closed, while the others remain open for takeout and delivery, Restaurant Business reported.

In the United Kingdom, Lancashire-based Seafood Pub Company has gone into administration, The Lancanshire Telegraph reported.

“Without funding and no income since the forced closure, we have no choice other than for the business to go into Administration,” Founder Jocelyn Nieve said in a letter to employees.

Several individual restaurants in the U.K., including London-based Texture and Siren, are also closing their doors.

The closures continue a trend of COVID-19 related closures and bankruptcies for restaurant chains. The restaurant industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with reports indicating that 85 percent of independent restaurants may close by the end of the year if government aid is not provided. 

Photo courtesy of Raif Liebhold/Shutterstock


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