While some restaurant businesses have made it through the uncertain seas of the pandemic era particularly well – fast food chains with robust take-out and delivery restaurants have even flourished as the pandemic has spread. – most restaurant-restaurants have seen their income decimated.
For the beloved west coast staple California Pizza Kitchen, the pandemic hit has been a near-fatal blow that followed many years of faltering activity. It had declined for years – from 195 locations in 2010 to 159 a decade later – and finally filed for bankruptcy last year.
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Struggling with debt, California Pizza Kitchen was looking for a buyer before the pandemic hit, according to Diving in the restaurant, hoping that a buyout would save the brand. Once out of bankruptcy by 2021, the company also considered going public.
Today, CPK is back on the path of expansion and sales growth thanks to a marked change in its strategy and operation. Formerly run entirely through an enterprise-based business model, the company announced that it would begin franchising locations across the country, according to the Catering company.
“We are coming out of the pandemic, we have a lot of energy and we have a lot of ambitions to be able to push the brand beyond some of the typical corporate stores that have just opened,” said Giorgio Minardi, vice-president. executive chairman of global development. and franchise operations. “We’re trying to be a little more available for certain markets and certain franchisees.”
The successful model of CPK franchises already exists, as the restaurant has several dozen franchise locations internationally and just over a dozen franchise locations nationwide. But current US CPK franchises are all located in specialized locations, such as airports or sports stadiums.
By entering into franchise agreements with owner-operators managing standard California Pizza Kitchen units, the company is poised to grow and increase revenues over the next few quarters, potentially returning to markets where locations have closed and also entering new markets. new territories.
“The reality is that we are very, very strong in California, Hawaii and other areas, but now we have to grow up and take advantage of this opportunity presented by the pandemic,” Minardi said.
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