Daily News: March 17, 2014

Quiznos Files for Prepackaged Chapter 11

Quiznos announced that its senior lenders have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a “pre-packaged” restructuring plan that will reduce the company’s debt by more than $400 million. The plan is intended to increase the company’s flexibility as it executes operational enhancements designed to strengthen performance, revitalize the Quiznos brand. In order to implement this pre-packaged plan, the company voluntarily filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, DE.

According to bankruptcy court documents, the first lien lender group is led by Goldman Sachs Credit Partners, as administrative agent. Also shown as administrative agent for the second lien lender group was U.S. Bank.

In conjunction with the restructuring plan, Quiznos said it has received a commitment for $15 million in DIP financing from its senior lenders, which, subject to court approval, will be available to support its ongoing operations during the Chapter 11 proceedings.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Felds is serving as legal advisor, Lazard Freres & Co. is serving as financial advisor and Alvarez & Marsal is serving as restructuring advisor to Quiznos.

All but seven of Quiznos’ nearly 2,100 restaurants are independently owned and operated by franchisees in the U.S. and 30 other countries around the world. As separate businesses, these restaurants are not a part of the Chapter 11 proceedings and are open and operating as usual. Quiznos expects to continue operating in the ordinary course of business throughout the restructuring process. The company will continue working with its franchisees in the U.S. and internationally to strengthen the brand, build momentum and improve growth and profitability.

“The actions we are taking are intended to enable Quiznos to reduce our debt, execute a comprehensive plan to further enhance the customer experience, elevate the profile of the brand and help increase sales and profits for our franchise owners,” said Stuart K. Mathis, Quiznos CEO. “We look forward to continuing to work with and support our global network of franchise owners, who are the backbone of our business.”

Mathis continued, “Our business plan includes several key elements aimed at supporting our franchisees, including reducing food costs, implementing a franchise owner rebate program, in certain circumstances making loans available to franchisees for restaurant improvements, investing in advertising to improve location awareness, and providing new incentives for prospective franchisees. We are also introducing new technology at the restaurants and taking other actions to help our franchisees operate their businesses more efficiently.”

The company’s distribution centers are open and fulfilling orders, and Quiznos has been in touch with its key suppliers to help ensure that products will continue to be delivered to franchisees in a timely fashion. Because the company has already received the requisite approvals for its pre-packaged restructuring plan from the necessary creditor groups, it expects to execute the plan and emerge from the court-supervised process on an accelerated basis.

Quiznos established a Restructuring Information Hotline for interested parties at (855) 388-4579 in North America, or internationally at (646) 795-6978. Additional information can be found on the Quiznos website at www.quiznos.com/restructuring.

Denver-based Quiznos is a chain designed for busy consumers looking for a an alternative to traditional fast-food restaurants.