US-based fast food restaurant chain Back Yard Burgers has declared bankruptcy for the second time since 2012 and closed several of its branches around Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to a report by QSR Magazine, Back Yard Burgers’ parent company Tantum Companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last month because of accumulating bills during the Covid-19 pandemic.

QSR Magazine quoted Back Yard Burgers CEO Mark Cote’s remarks from the court filing: “During the pandemic, any chance of dealing with operational issues in the normal course was unprecedented and disruptive to the company’s guests and employees.

“Operational control and management effectiveness was disrupted and exposed the company to weaknesses that were not previously identifiable and the consequences impacted the financial stability and the potential for financial recovery – which ultimately necessitated the filing of these Chapter 11 Cases.” 

The company has $10.9m in secured debt and $185,378 in credit card debt to fund several expenses of Tantum. These expenses are claimed to have led to the bankruptcy filing.

Back Yard Burgers now operates 19 locations across Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas and Illinois. Of these restaurant locations, five in Mississippi and Tennessee are company-owned. The remaining 14 are franchises.

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Based in Nashville, Tennessee, the restaurant group was established in 1987 and, as of 2022, operated 35 locations.

It is now owned by Charlotte-based private equity firm Axum Capital Partners, which acquired the burger franchise in July 2017 from Pharos Capital Group.

Initially, the restaurant only had drive-throughs, without dine-in options, but later started offering dine-in facilities.

Once a publicly traded company, Back Yard Burgers operated 180 locations in the US.