Real Mex Restaurants, a California-based company and one of the nation’s largest full-service Mexican casual dining restaurant chain operators, filed for “Chapter 22” protection on Monday, August 6, 2018.
Who Is Real Mex?
Real Mex operates three restaurant chain brands: El Torito, Chevy’s Fresh Mex, and Acapulco Mexican Restaurant. It also operates two El Torito Grills, Singual, and Laguna Beach landmark, Las Brisas. From a high of approximately 128 restaurants in 2012, today it operates about 70 restaurants. Almost all are in California. In addition, Real Mex has 11 franchised restaurants across the US.
The First Chapter 11 Case
The Real Mex debtors purchased the restaurant family in 2012 through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy sale. At that time, Tennenbaum and Z Capital were secured noteholders. They emerged as the new company’s majority owners. Today, the Real Mex debtors include a holding company, RM Holdco LC, and five affiliates.
Why Has Real Mex Filed a 2nd Bankruptcy Case?
Real Mex cites to many problems leading to its bankruptcy filing:
- Operational inefficiencies;
- Losses and shut-down costs associated with an unprofitable centralized food purchasing and distribution service and specialty product manufacturing business;
- Millions of dollars in costs, and lingering litigation, associated with shuttering underperforming locations;
- Millions of dollars in costs resulting from failed expansion efforts;
- Risk-management expenses;
- Rising employee wages and high rent costs, particularly in California;
- Deferred maintenance at some locations; and
- Rising financing costs.
The Sale Effort
Real Mex has engaged industry-expert Piper Jaffray to market the company for sale. Ultimately, the process resulted in a high bid by one of the company’s current owners, Z Capital. The “headline” purchase price is $46.75 million. Real Mex has proposed the following sale timeline:
- Bid deadline: Sept. 21, 2018
- Auction: Oct. 4, 2018
- Sale hearing: Early October 2018
The case number is 18-11795, and it is pending in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The case has been assigned to Judge Mary F. Walrath. KCC is the claims and noticing agent. If you are looking for more information, you can view the company’s “first-day” global declaration here.