Bakery-restaurant with CT stores goes bankrupt


Le Pain Quotidien filed for bankruptcy against creditors on Tuesday, with the possibility of a permanent closure of its Stamford site and a majority of others depending on the outcome of lease negotiations.

Le Pain Quotidien is headquartered in New York under the control of a Belgian entity, which has claimed $ 69 million from the chain. The bakery-restaurant business had closed all of its nearly 100 locations in the United States and put staff on leave at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, including in Stamford, Greenwich and New Canaan.

Restaurant bankruptcies this year have included Brio parent company Tuscan Grille, which closed its location at Danbury Fair definitely last month.

In layoff notices filed with New York State, Le Pain Quotidien lists restaurants in Westchester County, Long Island and other suburbs as employing about 25 people. The Connecticut Department of Labor did not list any equivalent notice Thursday for its trio of closed sites in Connecticut.

The list of “dark store” leases that Le Pain Quotidien wants to dismiss immediately with leave from a bankruptcy judge includes its Harbor Point location in Stamford, opposite Fairway Market, which also warns of the possibility of closure if he cannot find a buyer as part of the restructuring of his company under Chapter 11.

New York-based Aurify Brands is negotiating a bankrupt purchase of the assets of Le Pain Quotidien with the aim of reopening 35 restaurants that employed 1,000 people. This could leave as many as 1,500 more jobs by the wayside, depending on the results of rent negotiations for storefronts that have struggled with expensive leases, with Greenwich and New Canaan not included in the list. initial refusals of leases sought by Le Pain Quotidien.

Aurify, which operates multiple fast food chains including The Little Beet Table with a location on Greenwich Avenue, beat three bidders from an initial group of over 40 who explored a deal.

Le Pain Quotidien’s creditors include Lecoq Cuisine, a commercial bakery in Bridgeport that owed nearly $ 120,000 and laid off 180 employees in March. The Chef’s Warehouse, a Ridgefield-based gourmet food distributor with a large distribution center in New York City, owes a slightly higher amount.

Founded in 1990 in Belgium by Alain Coumont on an artisan bread recipe and a common table built from the floors of train cars, the Pain Quotidien menu today includes egg breakfasts with smoked salmon, porridge, Dutch pancakes and fruit smoothie bowls.

Le Pain Quotidien opened its first store in the United States in 1997 in New York City, choosing New Canaan as its first landing point in Connecticut in 2009. At its peak, the chain had 290 restaurants worldwide.

In 2018, the chain remained among the top 200 restaurants in the United States according to Technomic’s estimates, with $ 175 million in revenue that year.

Sales fell 13% last year as the company faced increased competition in its New York market from “take-out” rivals who were able to continue operating during the pandemic.

Includes reporting by Paul Schott.

[email protected]; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

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