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Ponderosa, Bonanza parent files for bankruptcy

PLANO Texas Metromedia Steakhouses Co. LP, parent of the Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse brands, said it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company said in a statement that it would continue operating and planned to reorganize around franchised stores and "a profitable core" of company restaurants. Metromedia Steakhouses' franchising subsidiaries — Ponderosa Franchising Co., Ponderosa International Development Inc. and Bonanza Restaurant Co. — were not included in the bankruptcy filing.

In its bankruptcy filing, Metromedia Steakhouses listed its estimated assets as being between $1 million and $10 million, and its estimated liabilities as being between $100 million and $500 million.

The Chapter 11 filing, made Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, follows the Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation by S&A Restaurant Corp., the Metromedia Restaurant Group division that included the Bennigan's and Steak and Ale brands. That bankruptcy filing led to the shuttering of nearly all company-operated Bennigan's and Steak and Ale branches. Since then, a group of Bennigan's franchisees and an investment group have aired plans to reopen some of the closed restaurants and recently won court approval to take over ownership of the brand. 

Metromedia Steakhouses said Wednesday that it had received a commitment of secured debtor-in-possession financing from affiliate and creditor Metromedia Co., which it said it would use, pending bankruptcy court approval, to help fund operating expenses.

Bob Hoffman, president of Metromedia Steakhouses, said in a statement that the bankruptcy filing "will have a positive long-term impact on the company’s domestic and international operations.”

Michelle Campbell, a company spokeswoman for Metromedia Steakhouses, said the company closed an unidentified number of unprofitable Ponderosa units before filing for Chapter 11. About 50 company-owned Ponderosa units remain open and are part of the Chapter 11 filing, she said. The company owned no Bonanza units, she said.

About 168 franchised Ponderosa locations are in operation under Ponderosa Franchising Co. About 48 Bonanza units remain open through Bonanza Restaurant Co.

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