- Premier Cajun Kings, a Popeyes franchisee that currently operates 19 Popeyes restaurants, declared bankruptcy this week following the untimely death of its sole owner and manager, Manraj Sidhu, court filings state.
- Sidhu’s death last May “triggered great operational instability” for the company’s current restaurants, according to the filing.
- Premier Cajun Kings marks the third franchisee within the Restaurant Brands International’s system to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this year. Burger King franchisees Toms King and Meridian Restaurants Unlimited also filed for bankruptcy.
Prior to its founders’ death, Premier Cajun Kings had sales over $30 million during 2020 and 2021 and employed about 500 people. Sidhu began his business in 2018 with businesses in Birmingham, Alabama, area. During 2018 and 2019, Sidhu added another 24 restaurants in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, according to a court filing.
As of March 2023, the company employs 398 people after closing 10 restaurants in Alabama and Tennessee within the last year to try and avoid additional losses and help stabilize the company. In addition to Sidhu’s death, the company was dealing with various challenges associated with the impact of COVID-19, as well as high inflation and borrowing rates and a shortage of workers within the last 12 months.
The closure of 10 stores didn’t prevent PCK’s insolvency, however. The company reported sales of $26 million and net operating losses of $6.8 million in 2022. As of March 2023, the company has about $10 million in assets and about $20.1 million in liabilities.
PCK expects to continue operating its restaurants during its Chapter 11 case, but is also seeking a sale of its assets. The company entered into a franchisee agreement with franchisor Popeyes with an understanding that a future buyer would enter into a new franchise agreement.