Earl Enterprises, the parent company of Buca di Beppo, Earl of Sandwich and Planet Hollywood, has confirmed the purchase of Bravo Cucina Italian and Brio Tuscan Grille restaurants in a deal that will bring back 4,000 employees left in “limbo” since FoodFirst filed for bankruptcy, Robert Earl, chairman of Earl Enterprises, said Thursday.
Orlando-based Earl Enterprises said: "We agreed to assume at least 45 leases from the existing portfolio. We’re still finalizing that exact list, but we are optimistic that the final count will be higher than 45."
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, FoodFirst permanently closed or “rejected" 48 of the company’s nearly 100 locations and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
According to a May 26 bankruptcy filing, the purchase price would include $25 million to be credited against the debt owed by the seller to the buyer, plus $50,000 in cash and $4.5 million in assumed liabilities. At the time, Earl Enterprises said it was interested in at least 45 of 53 Bravo/Brio locations left operating.
“We’re very excited about adding these restaurants to our group and look forward to not only investing in the future of Brio and Bravo but also the employees who are the backbone of these two restaurants,” Earl said in a statement.
Brio has locations in 12 states, including Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Utah.
Bravo has restaurants in 12 states, including Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The company said it is in the process of reopening dining rooms in an organized manner.
“Fans of these two beloved restaurants can rest assured that the inspired cuisine, gracious service, and unique charm that make up the brand identities of Brio and Bravo will not only be preserved but nurtured to reach even greater heights,” Earl Enterprises said in a statement.
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Update: This story has been edited to include additional information from Earl Enterprises.