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This Beloved Pizza Chain May Have to Close 250 Locations

After struggling throughout the pandemic, this pizza chain finally had to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Even though one national pizza chain's sales exploded during the coronavirus pandemic, the same can't be said for other restaurants. The differentiator here is that the aforementioned chain has a delivery-based model while pizza chains that rely on sit-down dining rooms have plummeted in sales. One beloved pizza chain that's been struggling throughout the pandemic finally had to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a 5-month pandemic battle: California Pizza Kitchen.

On July 30, the California-based pizza chain officially submitted the paperwork. It cited financial troubles due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the cause of its bankruptcy declaration, according to Nation's Restaurant News.

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While Jim Hyatt, CEO of California Pizza Kitchen, expects the company to rise from the ashes and "quickly emerge from bankruptcy as a much stronger company" after restructuring its debt, this bankruptcy puts the pizza chain's 250+ locations in jeopardy. As part of its restructuring plan, CPK will have to close unprofitable locations, but the final number remains to be seen.

Since February, the casual dining pizza chain has been doing everything it can to stay afloat. When it had to close dining rooms due to coronavirus restrictions, CPK pivoted to selling meal kits through its "CPK Market" service. While this tactic helped some restaurants, 46 CPK restaurants that weren't able to provide this service had to temporarily close and 4 ended up permanently closing.

California Pizza Kitchen joins a long list of major restaurant chains that have filed for bankruptcy during COVID-19.

It's no surprise that the pandemic has hit restaurants — and hard. While it was somewhat easy for fast-food restaurants to pivot to a drive-through model, the same can't be said for sit-down restaurants like CPK. While California Pizza Kitchen may emerge from bankruptcy with many of their locations, this chain is one of the lucky ones. Over 15,000 restaurants have had to permanently close during coronavirus, with numbers still climbing as states regress to dine-in closure mandates as coronavirus case spike.

If you do decide to visit one of the remaining open restaurants, be sure to protect your health by being mindful of these 7 Mistakes You Shouldn't Make at a Reopened Restaurant.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is the Managing Editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more about Olivia