Map: Marie Callender's resturants
PHOENIX – Arizonans looking for a pie fix are bound to be disappointed now that Marie Callender’s restaurants throughout the state have suddenly closed their doors.
The abrupt closures came after the owner/franchiser, Memphis, Tenn.-based Perkins & Marie Callender’s Inc., filed for bankruptcy.
The company cited reduced consumer spending and increased costs for staples like sugar, eggs and dairy products. Those increased costs were only partially offset by more efficient methods of making the pies for which Marie Callender’s is perhaps best known.
The company reportedly listed assets of $290 million and debt of $441 million in its bankruptcy filing.
According to court paperwork filed Monday in Delaware, the parent company closed nearly 60 of its 600 restaurants throughout the country, eliminating about 2,500 jobs. All of the Arizona restaurants – five in the Phoenix metro area and two in Tucson -- were included in the closure plan, which was implemented Sunday without warning.
Would-be customers at those restaurants Sunday were greeted with signs on the doors announcing the closures, apologizing for any inconvenience and thanking them for their patronage.
According to a manager at a Marie Callender's restaurant in Northgate, Wash., he was told customers who were currently dining needed to leave and the restaurant needed to shut down immediately.
"I thought it was a big joke, because I was like, 'I still have people in the restaurant,' and they were like, 'they need to leave,'" Mapp Chhim told KOMO-TV.
“This initial round of store closings was arrived at following store level analyses of historical financial performance, local market conditions, and cost structure. The process to identify underperforming locations remains ongoing and will continue throughout the chapter 11 case,” said Jay Trungale, chief executive officer of Perkins, in a news released on the company’s website.
The Perkins and Marie Callender’s restaurants are operated as separate brands with the former concentrated in the Midwest and Southeast and the latter in California and the Southwest.
After the closures, there are 89 Marie Callender’s restaurants remaining in seven states – California, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Fifty-two of those restaurants are company-owned; the rest are franchised.