Ignite Restaurant Group (“Ignite”) filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division today (Case no. 17-33550). Ignite operates 137 Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap restaurants, including three international franchise locations in Dubai. Ignite employs 8,400 people, including 2,900 full-time (both salaried and hourly) employees. Ignite’s bankruptcy schedules list $197 million in liabilities and $153 million in assets.

In its bankruptcy filings, Ignite cites to declines in comparable restaurant sales and income from operations at both Joe’s and Brick House. The company also notes that it has closed underperforming restaurants, including a location in Newark, NJ which had opened in 2013.

Ignite determined that a sale of the Company’s assets would result in the best recovery for its stakeholders and arrived in bankruptcy with a proposed purchaser in hand. On June 5, 2017 Ignite entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with Kelly Investment Group, a stalking horse bidder that previously purchased Champps and Fox & Hound restaurants out of bankruptcy.

If you are a landlord or trade creditor of Ignite, it is important to know your rights now.