Vapiano says coronavirus might push it into bankruptcy

The fast-casual chain says it is insolvent and has appealed to the German government for assistance.
Photograph courtesy of Vapiano

Vapiano, the German chain of fast-casual Italian restaurants, said Friday it might have to file for bankruptcy protection if it doesn’t get help from that country’s government.

The chain, which operates six locations in the U.S., said it has had to close nearly all of its 230 worldwide locations.

“Due to the drastic decline in sales and income in connection with the COVID-19 crisis, Vapiano SE has become insolvent,” the company said.

Vapiano said it could not get lending to bridge it through the crisis, and that absent aid, it would have to file for debt protection within three weeks.

“Due to the dynamic development of COVID-19 and the resulting drastic restrictions on public life and the associated massive economic consequences, companies in the hotel and restaurant industry are already threatened in their existence if no quick solution can be found here,” Vapiano said.

Vapiano, which serves pizza and Italian fare, first opened in Germany in 2002 and was trying to make it work in the U.S. The chain was No. 47 on the Restaurant Business Future 50 ranking last year.

While the company has only a small presence here, its potential bankruptcy helps shine a light on just how quickly the virus can take down restaurant companies. The company said it has almost no sales, while salaries, rent and other operating costs continue to accrue.

Also on Friday, the owner of Logan’s Roadhouse and Old Chicago said it closed all of its locations after its bankruptcy loan fell through because of the COVID-19 situation.

Restaurant companies have been closing stores and furloughing staff or shifting to takeout and delivery as dine-in sales have been curtailed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The result is expected to push a lot of companies into bankruptcy while devastating small chains and independents that don’t have much cash to get through a monthslong shutdown.

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