CiCi’s, Home of Unlimited Pizza Buffet, Files for Bankruptcy
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CiCi’s Holdings Inc., parent company of the unlimited pizza buffet chain, filed for bankruptcy after the pandemic curbed in-person dining.
CiCi’s runs 11 pizza buffets in the U.S. and franchises the concept to 307 more. The franchisees aren’t a part of the bankruptcy filing. CiCi’s listed assets of as much as $50 million and liabilities of up to $100 million in its bankruptcy petition.
The Chapter 11 filing in Texas allows CiCi’s to continue operating while it seeks approval of a plan to repay creditors. The company intends to leave bankruptcy quickly, seeking approval of its exit plan on March 3, court papers show.
The company defaulted on a credit agreement last year after Covid-19 regulations and the resulting economic fallout hurt sales. On-site dining has traditionally made up more than 85% of sales at CiCi’s restaurants, according to court papers.
But the company has also suffered amid stiff competition in the restaurant industry, including the meteoric rise of delivery apps among millennials, Chief Financial Officer Richard Peabody said in a court declaration. The company was in the process of closing some corporate-owned stores and transferring others to franchisees when the pandemic struck.
CiCi’s plans to hand ownership of the company to its lender, an entity controlled by SSCP Management andGala Capital Partners, the company said in a statement. CiCi’s owes about $10 million under a revolving credit facility and about $72 million under a term loan.
Founded in 1985 in Plano, Texas, CiCi’s is focused on providing “ultimate all-you-can-eat pizza and gaming experience” in a family-oriented environment at relatively low prices, according to court papers. The total CiCi’s location count grew to 650 in 2009, but has declined since then, court papers show.
The chain was acquired in 2016 by an affiliate ofArlon Group, the middle-market private equity unit ofContinental Grain Co.
CiCi’s will continue to operate and support franchisees as usual, according to the statement.
The case is CiCi’s Holdings Inc., 21-30146, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas (Dallas). To view the docket on Bloomberg Law,click here.
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