Diatribe: Sbarro Pizza Files For Bankruptcy Protection … Again.
Many years ago I worked in a downtown office building that was off the beaten path. It was several blocks from the busier part of the city and, consequently, there was no place to run out for a quick lunch. If my office mates and I didn’t bring a lunch from home, it was a bit of a time-consuming trek to find a restaurant that would serve a fast meal or even prepare a to-go order that was worth carrying back to our desks. Eventually, the area became a bit of a tourist attraction as improvements were made to the neighborhood and Sbarro opened its doors on a nearby corner.
When it first opened we enjoyed the restaurant, one of hundreds of franchises worldwide, and it’s New York style pizza by the slice, pasta dishes and other Italian-American offerings and it was quite popular. It’s popularity quickly dwindled when foot traffic in the area proved to be too little to justify the chain’s open kitchen concept that had been successful for one thousand franchises in shopping malls, department stores, airports, college campuses and plaza’s around the world.
Eventually, without the advertising budget of its competitors, and other factors, Sbarro filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2011. The company emerged under a restructuring plan but foundered again and, last month, announced that it would close 155 locations in North America after the company’s financial structure was deemed “unsustainable” by Standard & Poors.
Today, Sbarro filed for bankruptcy court protection again, less than three weeks after closing 40% of its U.S. locations. The company says this filing is a pre-packaged plan that should allow it to rid itself of $140 million in debt and allow its remaining 220 U.S. locations and more than 500 other locations owned by franchise operators in forty different countries to emerge from this bankruptcy as a healthier company.
If you’re fortunate enough to pass a Sbarro in the food court at your neighborhood mall or in an airport during your travels, stop and take a whiff of their special brand of Italian-American aromas before it’s too late. Sadly, like lunchtime in my old downtown office building, the opportunities to enjoy Sbarro’s foods are quickly dwindling.
Are you a Sbarro’s fan?
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