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Brick oven pizza chain Bertucci’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Sunday and may close restaurants.
Northborough, Mass.-based Bertucci’s said in a court filing that it expects to immediately reject 29 leases. It was not immediately clear whether those locations were still open or had already closed.
For now, the company said it has 59 remaining operating locations and they are still open. But the company warned that it faces a serious risk of going out of business without a speedy bankruptcy sale.
The chain has already slashed more than $5 million in costs through job cuts, lease concessions and other measures since the start of 2017.
But the casual dining sector’s ailments were too much to overcome. Sales are below 2011 levels, according to a court filing.
“With the rise in popularity of quick-casual restaurants and oversaturation of the restaurant industry as a whole, Bertucci’s — and the casual family dining sector in general — has been affected by a prolonged negative operating trend in an ever increasing competitive price environment,” the company said in a filing. “Consumers have more options than ever for spending discretionary income, and their preferences continue to shift towards cheaper, faster alternatives.”
Bertucci’s said it had reached a tentative deal to sell its assets to Right Lane Dough Acquisitions LLC, which expects to continue the business.
The chain, which is owned by investment firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, warned that without the deal it faces a serious risk of liquidation.
The company currently employs more than 4,200 workers. It has about $119 million in debt.
To try to rehabilitate the company, Bertucci’s in 2016 revived its classic recipes with a contemporary flair. And in September 2017, the company launched a mobile app to deliver digital sales.
But the company said it was unable to pay its debts on time.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.