Cici’s files for bankruptcy as pandemic accelerates the decline of the all-you-can-eat buffet

A Cici’s Pizza restaurant in Buena Vista, Florida.

John Greim | LightRocket | Getty Images

Buffet chain Cici’s has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy safety and introduced its sale to D&G Investors, its main lender.

While the coronavirus pandemic has lifted gross sales for pizza chains like Papa John’s, Domino’s Pizza and Yum Brands’ Pizza Hut, buffet-style eating places like Cici’s noticed their gross sales plunge. All-you-can-eat institutions have been already struggling earlier than the disaster, however eating restrictions and customers’ heightened concern over cleanliness accelerated their decline.

Cici’s and its franchisees function 318 places throughout 26 states in the U.S. In 2010, it had greater than 650 eating places.

In bankruptcy filings Monday, Cici’s mentioned that it had between $10 million and $50 million in belongings and $50 million to $100 million in liabilities. Its high two collectors have been Weingarten Realty Investors and Saputo Cheese. In December, D&G Investors bought $82 million of Cici’s debt, in response to the commerce publication Restaurant Business.

The chain rebranded in 2015, dropping the “Pizza” from its title as it tried to attract consideration to its different menu objects. A yr later, it was purchased by the Arlon Group, an funding agency that focuses on meals and agriculture.

Cici’s joins a slew of different restaurant chains which have sought bankruptcy safety throughout the pandemic, together with Punch Bowl Social and the dad or mum firm of Friendly’s Restaurants. According to estimates from the National Restaurant Association, greater than 110,000 eating places completely closed in 2020.

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