A federal bankruptcy court was scheduled to approve the sales of Burger King units involved in the Chapter 11 case of one of the chain’s larger Burger King franchisees, Meridian Restaurants Unlimited LC, a Utah-based company that, when it filed, had 116 restaurants in nine states.
In March, Meridian filed for Chapter 11 protection in Utah Bankruptcy Court, the second large-scale U.S. franchisee of the burger brand to do so in 2023.
South Ogden, Utah-based Meridian, a limited liability company that also franchises Black Bear Diner full-service units not involved in the case, filed its petition on March 2 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Utah District in Salt Lake City.
Meridian had restaurants in Arizona, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
Some of the Burger King locations, such as one in Mitchell, S.D., apparently were closed before the auction.
Burger King, a division of Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International Inc., is scheduled to buy the largest number of Meridian’s remaining 93 restaurants.
The bankruptcy auction was earlier this month.
Burger King is slated to be the biggest buyer, acquiring more than 30 units for $4.7 million in Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. Kansas King is to buy 16 units for $2.2 million in Kansas and Nebraska. Dakota Restaurant Partners is to purchase 12 locations for $3.4 million in Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota. Kraf is to buy seven units for $7 million in Arizona. Snake River Foods is slated to buy three units for $632,000 in Montana.
Burger King last year announced a franchisee-endorsed two-year plan to invest in its U.S. system, and company spokesperson said in a statement after the Meridian filing in March: "Over the next year or so, we anticipate a few franchisees will likely leave the system or look to reposition their portfolios for future success. We will proactively manage those transitions — and for those leaving the system, will work to ensure the restaurants are ultimately owned by high-performing franchisees and other proven operators from the restaurant industry.”
Burger King executives, in May earnings conference call, said they could anticipate 300 to 400 Burger King U.S. units closing over the course of the year.
In another Burger King bankruptcy auction earlier this year, 82 of TOMS King Holdings LLC’s 90 Burger King units received bids.
For the second quarter ended June 30, RBI had 30,125 restaurants, including 18,935 Burger King units, 5,662 Tim Hortons, 4,269 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchens and 1,259 Firehouse Subs.
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