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Taco Del Mar files for Ch. 11

SEATTLE Taco Del Mar Franchising Corp. has filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection, at least the third restaurant company to do so this month.

Taco Del Mar, which has more than 225 fast-casual locations, said Friday its operations would continue without interruption as it works to restructure its debt.

“Although this was not our first choice, we believe that the Chapter 11 process will allow us to maximize the value of the company’s assets,” Larry Destro, president and chief executive of Seattle-based Taco Del Mar, said in a statement. “Taco Del Mar has tremendous traction in its core markets and this process offers an opportunity to grow without the constraints imposed by the current debt burden and threats of litigation.”

Destro assumed leadership at the company last May, taking over from founder James Schmidt, who stepped down to focus on a new restaurant concept. Since Destro’s appointment, the company has also named a new chief financial officer, Rick Braa, and a new chief marketing officer, Elizabeth Andreini.

Taco Del Mar’s Chapter 11 filing on Friday comes days after Uno Restaurant Holdings Corp., owner of the Uno Chicago Grill chain, filed for bankruptcy protection. Earlier this month, 69-unit Daphne’s Greek Cafe, a San-Diego-based fast-casual chain, filed for Chapter 11 protection as well.

For the past two years, restaurant chains of all sizes have been hard hit by the rough economic trends, and bankruptcies from Chapter 7 liquidations to Chapter 11 reorganizations have been plentiful. Other brands that have filed for bankruptcy in the past include Bennigan’s, Oceanaire Seafood Room and countless independent operations.

All of Taco Del Mar's 225 locations are franchisee-owned and not involved in the company's restructuring, said CMO Andreini. She added that no stores will close as a result of the franchisor's Chapter 11 filing.

Taco Del Mar, which has locations in the United States, Canada and Guam, listed both assets and liabilities in a range of between $1 million and $10 million.

“When we emerge from this restructuring, Taco Del Mar will have become a much more competitive brand and a more financially secure investment for our existing and future franchisees,” Destro said.

Contact Molly Gise at [email protected].

TAGS: Finance News
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