Popular Tex-Mex Restaurant Chain Files For Bankruptcy, Closes Locations

By Dave Basner

April 22, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

With huge Tex-Mex chains like Taco Bell and Chipotle out there, as well as ones like Qdoba and Del Taco, it is harder for the smaller chains to thrive. That's probably a lot of why one just had to declare bankruptcy. Tijuana Flats, which has dozens of locations across Florida, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday.

Thankfully, the restaurant will continue after it was sold to new owners, however, 11 locations are closing. In a statement, CEO Joe Christina explained the hope with the sale, saying, "Our company is excited by the new ownership group’s plan to reinvest, focus, and emphasize the things that originally brought so many people to love Tijuana Flats. We understand the immediate financial actions taken by them to ensure the long-term health of this great and iconic brand."

While 11 locations are closing due to underperformance and to help the company restructure their finances, the rest of the restaurants will continue operating as usual. The new owners want the chain to go back to basics, focusing on fair prices, quality food and customer service. They also expect to improve in-store experience and renovate some of their locations.

They aren't the restaurant first chain to face difficult decisions in the current financial climate. Red Lobster is considering bankruptcy, while Pizza Hut, Boston Market, TGI Fridays, Popeyes and Outback Steakhouse have all been closing locations as a cost-cutting measure.

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