Sizzler steakhouse chain files for bankruptcy amid COVID-19 crisis

Even Sizzler has lost its sizzle amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The steakhouse chain known for its grilled meats and giant salad bars filed for bankruptcy Monday after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered its restaurants and strained its finances.

“The filing is a direct result of the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the casual dining sector, particularly long-term indoor dining closures and landlords’ refusal to provide necessary rent abatement,” Sizzler said in a statement, according to Restaurant Business News.

Sizzler says it has struggled to bounce back from virus-related lockdowns that forced all of its 14 company-operated restaurants to close at least twice.

The chain said it has tried to shift to take-out, delivery and outdoor dining, but those alternatives don’t work well for its signature salad bar, which is responsible for more than 40 percent of its restaurants’ revenue.

“These unprecedented times and resulting economic damage to the American restaurant and hospitality industry have not spared” Sizzler despite its efforts to cut costs and maximize sales, company president Christopher Perkins said in a court filing.

Founded in 1958 as Del’s Sizzler Family Steak House, the California-based company grew into a chain of more than 100 restaurants around the US, most of which are run by franchisees, according to court records.

Sizzler plans to keep operating its 14 corporate eateries during the bankruptcy process, which does not affect its more than 90 franchised restaurants, The Wall Street Journal reported. The chain’s bankruptcy petition listed $1 million to $10 million in liabilities and a similar amount in assets.

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