Fast-food chain Krystal files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

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DUNWOODY, Ga. — Fast-food chain Krystal has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in its existence. It was under bankruptcy protection once previously, in the 1990s. 

The company filed its petition in federal bankruptcy court in Atlanta on Sunday, citing debts of between $50 million and $100 million.

According to the filing, among the largest creditors the company owes includes The Tombras Group media agency of Knoxville, at $4.2 million; US Foods of Rosemont, Ill., at $2.9 million; Radiant Systems of Atlanta at $560,000; and SLM Waste & Recycling of Green Lane, Pa., at $535,000.

Restaurant industry journal Nation’s Restaurant News said that the company had announced a management shakeup in November, which saw Krystal Company president and CEO Paul Macaluso and chief financial officer Berry Epley both leaving the company.

Macaluso was replaced by Tim Ward, formerly from Captain D’s as president and chief operating officer. Bruce Vermilyea, an 18-year veteran of Qdoba became Krystal’s chief financial officer, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

Krystal is one of the oldest fast-food chains in the United States, and is considered the oldest in the South. They remain a southern chain, with their 360 restaurants in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Krystal was founded in 1932 in Chattanooga. Their corporate offices remained there until moving to Dunwoody, Ga., in 2013.

One of the chain’s founders, Rody Davenport, modeled many of the features of the restaurant on Chicago’s White Castle restaurants.   

The Krystal Company is owned by Atlanta-based equity firm Argonne Capital Group, which also owns the Tex-Mex dining chain On The Border.

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