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Black Angus Steakhouse operator files for bankruptcy

January 16, 2009|Associated Press

The owner of the Black Angus Steakhouse chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday -- the latest in a string of bankruptcy filings by sit-down restaurants hit hard by the deepening recession.

The chain's owner, privately held ARG Enterprises Inc., filed the petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

Los Altos, Calif.-based ARG owes between $100 million and $500 million and has assets between $100 million and $500 million, according to the filing.

In an affidavit, chief restructuring officer Lisa Poulin said the company operates 69 restaurants in seven states, mainly near or on the West Coast. The company employs about 3,600 people.

ARG previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2004. Once it exited that bankruptcy, Poulin said, the company refurbished its Black Angus chain, refreshed its menu and launched a to-go service. But revenue still dropped from about $244 million in 2006 to $181 million in 2008, Poulin said.

The company sought buyers but received no firm commitments for financing or a sale, Poulin said, and was forced to file for bankruptcy protection. She said the firm was still looking for buyers.

ARG's owner, Pecus ARG Holding Inc., and another subsidiary, ARG Property Management Corp., also filed for bankruptcy Thursday.

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