US restaurant chains closing, filing bankruptcy due to COVID-19

Some U.S. restaurant chains have filed for bankruptcy, and many other U.S. restaurant seafood chains have been forced to temporarily close their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

West Palm Beach, Florida-based TooJay’s Original Gourmet Deli, which operates 24 restaurants, has 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.

TooJay’s received USD 6.4 million (EUR 5.9 million) as part of the U.S. CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. It also has USD 33 million (EUR 30 million) in secured debt.

The company slashed staff from more than 1,100 employees in February to 290 as of the end of March, Restaurant Business said.

Similarly, 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.

Meanwhile, Seattle, Washington-based Duke’s Chowder House’s seven locations remain closed since they shut down temporarily in mid-March.

“Unfortunately, due to the effects of the coronavirus, we have suspended operations and are temporarily closed,” a message at the restaurant chain’s corporate office stated.

Seattle, Washington-based Ivar’s Restaurants has kept its full-service restaurants closed since mid-March. Those locations “remain shuttered until the stay-at-home order is lifted,” Ivar’s President Bob Donegan said in an email to customers.

“When able, we will re-open the dining areas and outdoor decks at Ivar's Acres of Clams, Salmon House, and Mukilteo Landing so you and your families can return to enjoy the best seafood and waterfront views in the Pacific Northwest,” Donegan added.

Most of Ivar’s quick-service locations, including three fish bars in front of its full-service restaurants, remain open for carryout, online ordering and delivery. Its restaurants in Lakewood, James Center and Puyallup, Washington, also offer drive-through options.

Ivar’s recently rolled out a program allowing customers to purchase its popular clam chowder via frozen chowder packs that serve 12 people.

Boston, Massachusetts-based Legal Sea Foods, which operates full-service seafood restaurants (including a handful of airport locations), closed all of its locations temporarily due to COVID-19 in mid-March.

“We have not yet reached the apex in Massachusetts … the situation is fluid and information is still forthcoming (and evolving) from our government officials,” a Legal spokesperson told SeafoodSouce in late April. “As we move forward, our main priority will remain the health and wellbeing of our employees, guests and the communities in which we operate.”

Photo courtesy of illuminaphoto/Shutterstock 


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