Massive Restaurant Chain Is Now At High Risk of Bankruptcy

A massive restaurant chain is now at high risk of bankruptcy according to several media reports citing the company’s financial woes.

Signs of an impending Red Lobster Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing first appeared in March when Red Lobster appointed as its CEO Jonathan Tibus, a managing partner at Alvarez & Marsal, a company known for corporate restructuring, reports TheStreet.

The industry received further confirmation earlier this month when the chain abruptly closed a total of 48 locations without notice.

Sarah Foss, Global Head of Legal at Debtwire, a service of ION Analytics, shared why a Chapter 11 filing could help Red Lobster.

“Reports have circulated that Florida-based seafood restaurant chain Red Lobster is considering a Chapter 11 bankruptcy to alleviate pressures from high rent and labor costs,” she said.

Basically, a Chapter 11 filing would allow the struggling restaurant chain to go to its landlords and negotiate better deals.

Many would likely be willing to negotiate because the large number of retail bankruptcies filed this year has made finding new tenants harder.

It’s hard to see how filing for bankruptcy would impact the chain’s labor costs, but it could be an opportunity to negotiate better deals with outside vendors.

However, the decision to close 48 locations without notice may make a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing more challenging, according to Foss.

“By shutting its doors without any advance warning to its employees that the company was shutting down, Red Lobster could face litigation related to purported failures to properly notify employees of closures or layoffs under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

The federal WARN Act requires companies with 100 or more full-time employees to provide at least 60 days of notice for planned mass layoffs or closings,” she shared.

That creates a wild card where a bankruptcy court judge could force the company to pay severance to the workers who were laid off without notice.

It’s a situation that could make it harder for Red Lobster to find funding to support a turnaround.

Foss noted that many states also have WARN laws, but she still believes that a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing makes sense for the chain.

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Also Read: Another Mall Clothing Retailer Now At High Risk of Bankruptcy

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Market News Today - Massive Restaurant Chain Is Now At High Risk of Bankruptcy.
Market News Today – Massive Restaurant Chain Is Now At High Risk of Bankruptcy.

Another unexpected fashion company now files for bankruptcy citing “extremely high costs due to inflation”, and other troubles.

Fashion brand Esprit has filed for insolvency in Europe citing “extremely high costs due to inflation, interest rates and energy prices, the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences of international conflicts.”

The insolvency filing, which was submitted to a court in Germany, applies only to the company’s European businesses.

All stores and online operations will continue as normal throughout the proceedings, during which the company said it will undergo a “transformation program” to reorganize its finances and business in Europe.

However, the company did note that high rents and an “overly bloated workforce” were some of factors contributing to its financial woes, foreshadowing potential cuts in both areas.

Founded in the U.S. in 1968, the company is now headquartered in Germany and Hong Kong and is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

This is the second time Esprit has entered bankruptcy in the past four years.

Esprit currently has a presence in 40 countries around the globe, with the company’s Asia-Pacific and North and South America divisions unaffected by the European proceedings.

Each group within Esprit’s European business will be tasked with proposing and executing its own restructuring plan tailored to its region “allowing for more creative solutions and potentially better outcomes,” said the company in a statement.

The group also said it is exploring new funding opportunities and that a number of “potential investors have expressed their interest for a strategic partnership.”

“The self-administration proceedings have been initiated with the primary objective of not only restoring the economic stability of the company but also retaining the strength of the Esprit brand name,” said the statement.

“By taking proactive steps to address the disproportionate operating costs and streamline the business, the company demonstrates its commitment to maintaining a strong and competitive brand presence in the market.”

This second European bankruptcy comes as the Esprit works to reestablish its presence in North America, an effort that kicked off last year with a series of pop-ups across the U.S.

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Also Read: This Massive Mall Retailer Is Now Closing In California

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Market News Today - Massive Restaurant Chain Is Now At High Risk of Bankruptcy.
Market News Today – Massive Restaurant Chain Is Now At High Risk of Bankruptcy.

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