Pizza chain Sbarro files for bankruptcy protection

Jonathan Stempel
Sbarro Inc., the pizza chain owned by buyout firm MidOcean Partners, filed for bankruptcy protection after missing interest payments on its debt.
Jay LaPrete | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Sbarro LLC, the pizza restaurant chain, on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than three years, after struggling with too much debt and lower customer traffic in the malls that house many of its restaurants.

Sbarro and more than 30 affiliates filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

The Melville, New York-based company has between $100 million and $500 million in both assets and liabilities, according to court papers.

Last month, Sbarro said it would close 155 of about 400 restaurants it owns in North America to cut costs.

Following those closures, it would still have more than 800 restaurants worldwide, including those owned by franchisees.

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Restaurants' winter woes

Moody's Investors Service in January said Sbarro has also struggled with high food, labor and occupancy costs.

Company representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Sbarro's restructuring plans.

Sbarro was founded in Brooklyn, New York in 1956 by Gennaro and Carmela Sbarro, a married couple who had immigrated from Naples, Italy.

It expanded in the New York City area before launching in 1967 its typical restaurant format, which includes an open kitchen and lets customers serve themselves.

The company had previously filed for protection from creditors in April 2011, and emerged from Chapter 11 the following November.

The case is In re: Sbarro LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-10557.

—By Reuters