Restaurant concepts that combine food and entertainment have suffered significant losses this year due to their reliance on on-premise sales. The prolonged closures of numerous locations proved to be detrimental for Chuck E. Cheese, which ended up filing for bankruptcy in June, while Dave and Buster's laid off hundreds of employees and has been on bankruptcy watch for months.
The latest restaurant chain in the entertainment category to file for bankruptcy is Punch Bowl Social, an all-in-one karaoke, arcade, event space, and food and drinks venue that had been in trouble since March. The filing cited the devastating effects of the pandemic as the main reason for the company's downturn, CNBC reports. (Related: The Saddest Restaurant Closures In Your State.)
But Punch Bowl Social claims it had no prior knowledge of the filing and questions its legality.
"The company had no advance knowledge in regards to this filing by two former executives," the company said in a statement. "We are unsure at this time if the filing is even legal, and our secured lender, CrowdOut, and legal counsel are currently working to resolve this issue."
Founded in 2012, the chain was once "one of the hottest concepts in the restaurant business," according to Restaurant Business, offering high-end food and games like shuffleboard, bowling, ping pong, and billiards. Over the years, the Denver-based company grew to 20 locations across a dozen states, most of which have been closed since the start of the pandemic. Currently, only two locations remain open, one in Austin, Texas, and one in Atlanta, Ga.
While posed for success as recently as the beginning of this year, the chain started to unravel at the start of the pandemic. In March, the company had closed 19 locations and was facing foreclosure, when Cracker Barrel, one of its biggest investors, refused to come to the chain's rescue. Founder Robert Thompson departed Punch Bowl Social soon after.
A bankruptcy hearing is set for this week which will illuminate the future of the faltering chain.
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