Even Stevens, a Salt Lake City-based sandwich chain that once vowed to donate a sandwich to a local nonprofit for each one sold, this week filed for federal bankruptcy protection and closed several locations.
The company, which now has 10 restaurants, said in a release that it has spent the past seven months restructuring its business and filed for debt protection in a bid to “strengthen the financial health of the organization.”
In a statement, the chain’s chief restructuring officer blamed quick expansion for the chain’s challenges.
“Even Stevens came out of the gate with positive momentum but expanded too quickly, saddling the company with significant financial and operational challenges,” Chief Restructuring Officer Brooks Pickering said. “While the restructuring to date has significantly improved operations, the remaining challenges require the tools afforded through the bankruptcy process to protect the interests of our investors, financiers, employees, and customers.”
Even Stevens said it has closed locations in Arizona, Texas and Colorado and will close a location in Provo, Utah, to “right-size the company” and put it on a track to improve profitability.
The closures will leave the company with restaurants in Washington, Utah, and Idaho.
Even Stevens opened its first shop in 2014, calling itself a “craft casual” concept and donating sandwiches to local nonprofits dedicated to food security. Local reports indicate that the company stopped its charitable giving months ago.
The company had more than 20 locations at one point, in a half-dozen states throughout the West and Southwest.
The company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing says it has assets between $1 million and $10 million, and liabilities in the same range.
“We have a great product and an honorable mission,” Pickering said. “Unfortunately, business decisions made under former management have put us in a difficult position. We are confident the steps we are taking and the path we have charted will ensure the long-term viability of the company.”