Romano’s Macaroni Grill announced February 22 it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Mac Acquisition LLC, the owner of the Italian chain, filed for bankruptcy protection October 18, citing a shift in customer preference and an “overall downturn for the casual dining industry.” The company emerged from bankruptcy on February 15.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill, founded in 1988, said it “successfully leveraged the court administrated restructuring process to shed legacy liabilities and significantly strengthen the company, amid industry headwinds.”
Romano’s Macaroni Grill successfully renegotiated lease terms, the company said, as well as vendor contracts, and also secured $13.5 million in new capital to fund restricting efforts and invest directly into the company “in the form of human capital and systems.”
“Macaroni Grill is without a doubt one of the premier Italian dining options in the industry,” Nishant Machado, CRO and CEO of Macaroni Grill, said in a statement. “The company has forged the path for Italian dining with ingredients coming straight from Italy and an environment that is focused on genuine hospitality and generosity. Through the restructuring and turnaround process, the company has firmly re-established itself and the results have been tremendous, which is a testament to the brand, our team and our loyal guests.”
There are currently 86 company-owned locations in 22 states, plus 21 franchised units in the U.S. and seven other countries.
In October, Romano’s Macaroni Grill revealed that it had closed 37 restaurants since the beginning of the year due to unprofitability. The Denver-based company employs more than 4,500 people and brought in revenue of about $230 million in 2016.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill has treaded a rocky path in recent years. Ignite Restaurant Group purchased the brand for $55 million in 2013 before selling it two years later to Red Rock Partners LLC for just $8 million in cash. The brand, which was founded in 1988, had 150 units at the time.
Ignite Restaurant Group and its Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap brands sought chapter 11 protection in June. The company was then won in a bankruptcy auction by Landry Inc.’s Tilman Fertitta, the Houston billionaire who owned Joe’s Crab Shack in the 1990s before selling it in 2006 to JCS Holdings LLC for $192 million. Fertitta, the new owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets franchise, bought the two brands for $57 million this time around.