Here are all the reasons why Krystal just went bankrupt

By Arianne Cohen

You may soon need to get your square-slider-near-the-freeway-exit fix elsewhere: Krystal has filed for bankruptcy. The Southeast’s answer to White Castle will remain open while the company restructures, but its days may be numbered.

This is the latest in a slew of obvious signs of financial distress. In the last 20 months, the chain took a $59 million loan, hired a new CEO, president, and CFO, and closed 44 locations, including over a dozen in December, leaving about 300 operational restaurants in 10 states. Today’s court filings nodded to a laundry list of reasons for its struggles:

    consumers no longer excited about greasy fast food

    numerous fast-casual competitors

    difficulty staffing low-wage employees

    expensive leases

    rising costs of food

In short—all the reasons.

But there’s more: The filing did not mention Krystal’s lack of an answer to Popeyes wildly popular chicken sandwich, which McDonald’s is reportedly trying to copy, but surely the chicken sandwich, which is mentioned in every fast-food article, must be part of this story?

The swift rise of easy online delivery from local restaurants has also been particularly unkind to Krystal, which predated McDonald’s by 23 years. For nearly 90 years, its drive-through locations alongside suburban freeway exits were a primary appeal, but they’ve been rendered obsolete.

Perhaps there is still hope, however! This is not Krystal’s first Chapter 11 rodeo: The chain filed for bankruptcy in 1997 and recovered.


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