- Corner Bakery filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday. The cafe chain, which operates in 20 states, has assets and liabilities that both range between $10 million and $50 million.
- The restaurant chain has $33.8 million in secured debt, Restaurant Business reports, which Pandya Group took on when it purchased Corner Bakery in 2020. Prior to Pandya, a Roark Capital Partners affiliate owned the chain.
- The restaurant industry has seen relatively few high-profile bankruptcies since 2020, though some smaller chains — including Bertucci’s, Dynamic Restaurant Holdings and BLT Restaurant Group — filed for Chapter 11 protection last year.
Cafe chains like Corner Bakery were particularly bruised by pandemic-driven shifts in consumer behavior, as these restaurants have historically relied on office crowds for breakfast and lunch traffic. In 2020, Corner Bakery’s sales fell 56% to $154 million and units shrank 4%, according to Technomic data reported by Restaurant Business. In 2021, sales improved 54% to $237 million for the year, but this performance still didn’t come close to the chain’s 2019 sales total of $362 million.
Rival fast casuals have suffered similar setbacks. Au Bon Pain reported store retrenchment for years before beginning to launch new units and target growth through franchising. Pret A Manger permanently shuttered over a dozen restaurants after a pandemic-induced sales slump.
Both of those chains turned to off-premise-focused store models to drive growth, and it’s possible that Corner Bakery could be free to further pursue digital sales thanks to Chapter 11 protection. Corner Bakery was already looking to scale its off-premise business, including catering, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.