Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Ruby Tuesday and Sizzler file for bankruptcy, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic

It's time for another installment of Tales of the Retail Apocalypse. First, I learned that Sizzler filed for bankruptcy when compiling the videos for 'SNL' satirizes the vice-presidential debate and puts the news in the context of Mental Health Awareness Week. My reaction was "Sizzler filed for bankruptcy? I'll have to write about that for my next Retail Apocalypse entry." Second, when searching for videos about Sizzler's bankruptcy, I found out that Ruby Tuesday filed for bankruptcy last week. I'll begin with the latter story, as Ruby Tuesday is the larger company and its filing is more recent.

WATE 6 On Your Side in Knoxville, Tennessee, covered the story more thoroughly than the other television stations, uploading three videos more than a minute long, while everyone else averaged 30 seconds. That's because Ruby Tuesday started in Knoxville. Here is the longest clip from the station's YouTube channel: Ruby Tuesday files for bankruptcy.

Another clip, Ruby Tuesday files for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy, had the only video description beyond the title.
Ruby Tuesday announced today that it has filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.
I could feel how important Ruby Tuesday was to the people in Knoxville, especially those who dined at the original location. I feel sorry for them and hope that the original location stays open after bankruptcy.

None of WATE's reports specified if any locations would close, but Fox 2 in St. Louis did in Ruby Tuesday files for bankruptcy, saying 185 stores would shut their doors permanently.

Ruby Tuesday is filing for bankruptcy protection, the latest casual restaurant chain to suffer from coronavirus-related closures and changing consumer habits.
For what it's worth, the location nearest me, four miles away by car and less as the crow flies, closed last year and has been rezoned for a fast food restaurant and a gas station. Good bye, Ruby Tuesday!

Follow over the jump for a news report of Sizzler's closing and the reaction to it.

I open this part of the post with the news report from CBS Los Angeles, Southland Restaurant Chain Sizzler Files For Bankruptcy.

Sizzler, the Orange County-based restaurant chain known for its moderately priced steaks and expansive salad bar, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday. Katie Johnston reports.
This news hit me harder, even though I haven't been in a Sizzler this century, because I grew up in southern California and Sizzler was the steakhouse my family went to. I continued eating there right up until I moved to Michigan, because I was member of a shell collector's club that ate dinner at Sizzler before every meeting. I missed Sizzler when I moved to Michigan, as there were no locations near me. I was very happy to find a Sizzler in Orlando, Florida, where my ex-wife and I ate with our children and my mother-in-law when we went there about 25 years ago. I don't think I've been in one since.

I'm not alone in grieving over the company's bankruptcy. The correspondents of TMZ commiserated over the news in Sizzler Files for Bankruptcy Because of COVID-19 Pandemic.

Sizzler says they are not closing their doors despite filing for bankruptcy.
The casual restaurant chain says their goal is to keep all locations open for biz while renegotiating leases, which they estimate will take about 4 months.
Despite the mourning, TMZ's reaction turned funny at the end. Not The Young Turks. In Sizzler Is No More And We're Sad About It, both Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian became angry and started ranting.

RIP Sizzler. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss on The Young Turks.
They're being a bit hyperbolic about Sizzler disappearing. As CNN reported, "The filing is only for Sizzler's 14 company-owned restaurants -- not its international locations or more than 90 franchised US restaurants...The company aims to exit bankruptcy in about 120 days and company-owned locations will continue to operate." Still, I agree with them about the importance of wearing masks. Anti-"mask hysteria" has actually slowed down the reopening of the economy, not sped it up as the anti-maskers had hoped.

Other restaurant chains are in danger of joining Ruby Tuesday, Sizzler, and Chuck E. Cheese in bankruptcy because of the pandemic. ABC's Good Morning America listed more this past August in Denny’s, Applebees and other restaurant chains in trouble amid pandemic.

Six of the nation’s most popular restaurant chains have been rocked by the pandemic and are facing potential bankruptcy, according to a new report.
In addition to Denny’s and Applebees, the report named The Cheesecake Factory, Outback Steakhouse, TGI Fridays, and IHOP as restaurant chains at risk of filing for bankruptcy as a result of the pandemic. This is in addition to the list of bankrupt restaurant chains from Business Insider, which includes California Pizza Kitchen in addition to Chuck E. Cheese, Sizzler, and Ruby Tuesday. Looks like I have more stories to write about restaurants in distress during the pandemic. Stay tuned.

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