Quiznos is moving towards filing for bankruptcy protection within the next few weeks, according to a report published in The Wall Street Journal.
The sandwich chain is seeking bankruptcy protection due to declining sales and about $570 million in debt, as well as poor relations with franchisees. Quiznos has reportedly been negotiating with creditors for weeks on a restructuring plan that would streamline the bankruptcy court process. However, a final deal has not yet been reached.
This will be Quiznos’ second major financial restructuring in two years. In 2012, Quiznos reached an out-of-court restructuring deal that cut its debt load by more than a third. Unfortunately for the sandwich chain, Quiznos reportedly missed a loan payment at the end of 2013 and has been operating under a forbearance agreements with its lenders to delay a potential default since.
At its peak in 2008 the chain operated about 5,000 restaurants. Today, there are only approximately 2,100 Quiznos worldwide, including 1,400 in the U.S. Meanwhile, Quiznos' old rival Subway has 41,000 shops, and new competitors such as Potbelly and Jimmy John’s are continuing to grow.
Quiznos’s lagging sales have been coupled with franchisee complaints regarding the cost of staying in business. A number of franchisees in recent years have filed lawsuits against Quiznos claiming the franchisor cost them “hundreds of millions of dollars” through hidden markups on food and supplies they were contractually obligated to buy.