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Souper Salad files for bankruptcy protection

SSI Holding Group Corp., parent to the Souper Salad salad buffet chain and the Grandy’s brand, filed Thursday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware.

The Lewisville, Texas-based company said in a statement it was “exploring strategic alternatives for the business.” The bankruptcy petition was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

“Despite making significant strides to reposition the business since 2005, it was unable to overcome the prolonged headwinds facing the restaurant industry and the downturn in consumer confidence,” Souper Salad said Thursday in its statement.

In 2005, Souper Salad sold an equity interest to Sun Capital Partners Inc., a Boca Raton, Fla.-based private-equity firm. On Thursday, a report from The Deal said the restaurant company was looking to sell both its Souper Salad and Grandy’s brands, and named sister Sun Capital portfolio holding Captain D’s as a possible suitor for Grandy’s.

Souper Salad said prior to its filing it had closed underperforming locations, improved supply-chain costs, decreased overhead and rolled out new marketing to drive traffic. But as its financial position declined over the past 18 months, the company said, it determined “that reorganizing under Chapter 11 would provide it with the best opportunity to reposition itself. During the reorganization period, the company expects to continue to conduct business as usual.”

Since July, the company has closed at least 24 company-owned stores, and one franchised unit has shuttered.

As of the bankruptcy filing Thursday, the company had 48 company and eight franchised Souper Salad units, primarily in the South and West, and two company and 64 franchised Grandy’s units in eight central and Southern states.

Ward Olgreen, who was named chief executive of Souper Salad last year, said Thursday in a statement: “We believe Souper Salad and Grandy’s are attractive, viable brands that have a place in the quick-casual restaurant sector and significant potential to capture greater market share.

“Unfortunately, the positive efforts the company has taken to improve its business have been hampered by the continued industry downturn,” he added.

In bankruptcy court documents, Souper Salad, which filed as SSI Holding Group Corp., listed liabilities of about $47 million and assets of about $24 million.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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