Casual dining chain The Lost Cajun filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday, citing the impacts of the pandemic on its operations and franchisees.
The New Orleans-inspired concept, which was founded in 2010 in Colorado and lists 25 locations on its website, reported liabilities of more than $1.4 million and assets of about $338,000 in a petition filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado.
The Lost Cajun Spice Company LLC, which was formed in 2016 to handle the sale and distribution of goods to the chain’s restaurants, also declared bankruptcy.
During the pandemic, The Lost Cajun reduced salaries and reduced or eliminated franchise fees.
“A number of The Lost Cajun franchisees failed and those that remain open suffered significant revenue losses, with some indicating to the franchisor that closings are imminent,” the company said, according to court documents.
The Lost Cajun is asking for an immediate transition into Chapter 11, within the next three weeks.
The concept was founded by Raymond “Griff” Griffin, a former bayou fish-camp operator who ended up in Frisco, Colo., looking for medical care for his wife, who hurt her back during a road trip. He opened his first restaurant there, followed by a second in Breckenridge, Colo., according to local media reports. He began franchising the concept soon after and it now lists locations in South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana, in addition to Colorado.
“Given that the restaurant count has shrunk and is anticipated to continue to shrink as a result of COVID and its aftermath, the Debtors filed the instant cases to reorganize their debts and obligations so that Debtors are not, going forward, insolvent,” the petition said.
Earlier this week, buffet operator Fresh Acquisitions LLC and Buffets LLC declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.