It's the second-oldest fast food restaurant in the nation.

By Tim Nelson
January 22, 2020

If you’re from the Southeast, you’re probably familiar with Krystal, a long-running fast food chain serving up its signature sliders at more than 300 locations. If you aren’t from the region, you might have heard of their experiment with a $6 all-you-can-eat slider and fry deal. Either way, recent news suggests that ploy to boost sales wasn’t enough to get the company out of the red and into the black.

According to multiple outlets, Atlanta-based Krystal officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this past week, citing outstanding debts measuring between $50 and $100 million dollars. The well-known slider seller says increased competition, changing consumer preferences (looking at you, Chick-fil-A), the rise of online ordering platforms like DoorDash, and a tightening labor market all contributed to its financial insolvency.

Filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy, frequently used by businesses seeking to reorganize in order to pay off its creditors, isn’t exactly great news. But Krystal plans to keep its locations open during bankruptcy proceedings and hopes that taking this step will provide the business with a fresh start.

"The actions we are taking are intended to enable Krystal to establish a stronger business for the future and to achieve a restructuring in a fast and efficient manner," a spokesperson for Krystal said in a statement quoted by CNN.

Since opening its first location in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1932, Krystal has expanded to hundreds of locations across the southeast. The company moved its headquarters to Atlanta in 2013, right around the time that fellow ATL-based fast food rivals Chick-fil-A’s expanded footprint and rising popularity began to take a bite out of Krystal’s burger sales.

It’s unclear at this stage how long the bankruptcy process takes or what will ultimately happen, but CNN cites improved performance at smaller Krystal locations as a possible path forward. Whether or not that sweet $6 deal gets the axe, however, remains to be seen.

 

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