Bertucci’s, a full-service Italian chain based in the Northeast, declared bankruptcy for the second time.
The brand said in its filing that COVID and inflation caused sales to drop and expenses to rise. Bertucci’s earned $97.9 million in fiscal 2021, but suffered an operating loss of $14 million and a net loss of $7.2 million. The restaurant owes $20.85 million in secured loans, $1.5 million in state taxes, and $26.5 million in unsecured loans.
When the brand filed bankruptcy in April 2018, it cited growing popularity of quick-casual restaurants and over-saturation of the industry. The concept claimed the casual family dining segment was impacted by a “prolonged negative operating trend in an ever increasing competitive price environment” and that customers were shifting toward cheaper, faster alternatives. It was owned by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a Los Angeles private equity firm that’s previously invested in Cicis, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Global Franchise Group, and Wetzel’s Pretzels.
Two months later, it was announced that Planet Hollywood parent Earl Enterprises was buying Bertucci’s for roughly $20 million. At the time, Bertucci’s operated 56 locations with nearly 2,000 employees. In 2019, it reported sales of more than $120 million. As of December, the company has 47 units across nine states and employs 1,436 workers.
Bertucci’s was founded in Somerville, Massachusetts, in 1981. In the late 1990s, it peaked at more than 100 restaurants. The restaurant is known for its brick-oven pizzas, handcrafted pastas, exhibition kitchens, and homemade Italian signatures.
Bankruptcies have been few and far between in the casual-dining sector in 2022, with many clawing back to pre-pandemic sales. One other case of note was BLT Restaurant Group, parent of BLT Steak and BLT Prime, which declared bankruptcy in March because of issues with the Paycheck Protection Program. On the quick-service side, Dynamic Restaurant Holdings, owner of pizza concepts Happy Joe’s and Tony Sacco’s, declared bankruptcy in early September.