Burger King franchise files for bankruptcy and closes doors forever in six states – is your region affected?
A HUGE Burger King franchise with over 100 locations has filed for bankruptcy, resulting in the closure of a number of locations.
Meridian Restaurants Unlimited — a Utah-based company that operates 118 Burger King locations in nine states — has reportedly racked up $14 million in debt.
According to court documents, the franchise faces an uphill battle with poor sales and crippling inflationary costs.
Court documents filed last month show Meridian is closing 27 of its locations in Minnesota, Utah, Montana, Kansas, Nebraska and North Dakota.
Restaurant Business reports that some of the closures are in small towns like Lewiston, Montana, which has a population of 6,000.
While the company hopes this will be the end of the closures, it hasn’t made any promises to customers.
Restaurant Business reported that Meridian does not anticipate closing “all or even a significant portion” of its locations.
The franchise also owns a number of Black Bear Diner locations.
In recent years, Meridian’s Burger King locations have suffered from reduced footfall and therefore reduced profit.
Despite this lower income, there has been no change in rent, debt service or liabilities at the sites, even as product and energy costs rose.
According to the company, some of its burger shops have never done well from day one and have consistently made losses.
The franchise and its financial advisors are in talks about lease concessions and how to improve operations to save the other locations.
It is the second Burger King franchise to file for bankruptcy this year, after Toms King Holdings, a 90-unit operator that filed for Chapter 11 in January.
The franchise complained of suffering from the same problems as Meridian in terms of lost attendance and profits, and increased costs.
As a result, court documents said the business “had suffered significantly [a] Loss of foot traffic, resulting in decreased revenue without a proportionate reduction in rent obligations, debt service and other liabilities.”
Burger King has been unable to keep up in a post-pandemic landscape, reportedly making relatively low sales of $1.4 million per location.
That’s about $500,000 less than competitor Wendy’s and nearly half what an average McDonald’s location would sell.
However, Meridian said there is hope for the future and believes Burger King’s financial restructuring and recent changes will get them out of this crisis.
It comes after Burger King executives expressed concerns about the company and announced its multi-year plan to “recapture the flame,” reports Restaurant Brands International.