US seafood restaurant chain Rubio’s Restaurants files for bankruptcy

Published on
October 26, 2020

Another foodservice victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rubio’s Restaurants filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Carlsbad, California, U.S.A.-based operator of around 150 fast casual Rubio’s Coastal Grille restaurants closed 26 locations earlier this year – primarily in Colorado and Florida – due to the pandemic. In its 26 October announcement, the company said those closures would become permanent, but added it will not be closing additional locations as part of the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on Rubio’s, like most businesses, and I’m proud of how we have responded to the challenge,” Rubio’s Co-Founder Ralph Rubio said.

As part of the financial restructuring, Rubio’s obtained debtor-in-possession financing from Golub Capital and an additional investment from Mill Road Capital.

“The bankruptcy process provides the company with a consensual reduction of indebtedness, increased access to capital, and an opportunity to optimize its operating footprint,” Rubio’s said in a press release. “As a result, Rubio’s will emerge with enhanced resources to support the ongoing operations of its restaurants in California, Arizona, and Nevada.”

Rubio’s Restaurants has done its best to adapt to the vastly different foodservice landscape that has emerged out of the coronavirus crisis, Ralph Rubio said. And the company’s investments in critical digital technologies in 2019 – including online ordering, a mobile app, a new loyalty program, and Rubio’s delivery – “allowed us to pivot swiftly under varying state and county restrictions,” Rubio said.

“We quickly launched family meal kits and shifted to takeout, curbside pickup, and free delivery operations, allowing our guests to enjoy our delicious food when and where they want it,” he said.

Daily operations at more than 150 Rubio’s restaurants in California, Arizona, and Nevada will continue with business as usual, the company said. A small number of locations are temporarily closed and may reopen when state and county restrictions change.

“The agreement with our sponsor and lenders will position the company to thrive in this constantly evolving market. This plan will strengthen our finances and allow us to continue to serve our loyal guests and drive our business forward,” Rubio’s President and CEO Marc Simon said.

Photo courtesy of Rubio’s Restaurants

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