April 17, 2018

Bertucci's files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

PHOTOS/MATT WRIGHT
Lunch patrons at Bertucci's in Framingham. Northborough-based Bertucci's developed new specials to entice the business lunch crowd, such as a guarantee food will be ready quickly.

Citing debts of of $119 million, Northborough-based Bertucci's has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court, the Italian restaurant chain announced in a press release Monday.

The chain has reached an agreement with a buyer - Right Lane Dough Acquisitions LLC - to assume control of the company for a cash price of $1.7 million, a credit in the aggregate amount outstanding under Bertucci's debtor-in-possession financing facility up to $4 million, and the issuance of $14 million in new second lien debt.

Right Lane, emerging as the so-called stalking horse bidder, or the first company to make a bid on the bankrupt company, is expected to assume all of Bertucci's assets and certain liabilities, subject to better offers. The entity is also expected to hire "substantially all" of Bertucci's current employees.

The company is seeking $4 million in debtor-in-possession financing to allow the company to remain open for business during the bankruptcy proceeding.

"Today's filing is expected to be seamless for Bertucci's guests, trading partners and vendors, and result in minimal disruption to its operations, allowing us to strengthen the company's financial structure and position it for significant future growth," CEO Brian Wright said in a statement.

The company currently has 969 full-time employees and 3,245 part-time employees.

In another filing, the company said it retained a real estate firm to analyze performance of restaurants at leased locations, and as a result, the company has recently closed 14 locations.

The chain is currently operating 59 locations, according to the company, including restaurants in Westborough, Marlborough, Holliston and Framingham. The company began a promotion last year to regain lunch traffic, giving guests a free meal if they order off the lunch menu and don't get their food within 15 minutes.

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