Matchbox Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
D.C.-based Matchbox Food Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Monday, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the need to “rationalize its store footprint,” the company said.
Founded in 2003, Matchbox has nine restaurants in the DMV, as well as Charlottesville, Sunrise, Fla, and Dallas. Reston-based Thompson Hospitality, which invested $11 million in Matchbox in 2018 for a purchase option, will buy the chain, pending bankruptcy court approval. Matchbox filed Chapter 11 petitions in U.S. bankruptcy courts in states where it operates, a spokesperson said. Thompson, which owns 51% of the company, has been managing the restaurants and developing new ones for two years.
“Restructuring will allow us to right-size our balance sheet and position the business for growth going forward,” said Edwin Sheridan IV, a member of Matchbox’s board of directors, said in a statement. “The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the restaurant industry has been swift and damaging. The Chapter 11 process will enable us to emerge as a stronger company, and to continue to serve as good partners with our team members, vendors, landlords and our loyal guests.”
Thompson launched in 1992 with facilities management and campus dining and now owns restaurant concepts such as American Tap Room, Austin Grill, Hen Quarter, Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, The Delegate, Yot Bar & Kitchen, and The Rub Chicken & Beer.
“For the last two years, Thompson Hospitality has joined forces with Matchbox to manage our restaurants and develop new ones,” Sheridan said. “They are now proposing to take a larger role, proposing a purchase of the chain, subject to court approval. The Matchbox brand now has a clear path forward that enables us to be flexible in any environment. We are confident that we will emerge stronger.”
Matchbox said it intends to use the reorganization process to “deleverage its balance sheet and rationalize its store footprint.”
“Restructuring will allow us to right-size our balance sheet and position the business for growth going forward,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan noted that landlords have been flexible. “We aim to work with the landlords for each of our locations to find agreeable terms that will allow us to keep our restaurants open,” he said. “If that is not possible, we will be forced to close locations.” It said it plans to open new, smaller locations.
Matchbox opened it first location in Chinatown. It relocated to Seventh and E Streets NW in Penn Quarter last year, a former Austin Grill location. In 2017, a year before the Thompson Hospitality investment, Matchbox sold its Ted’s Bulletin restaurants to Steve Salis, a founder of &Pizza and owner of Kramerbooks and the Federalist Pig.