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Krystal, one of America's oldest burger chains, files for bankruptcy

The Southeastern burger chain is known for its little sliders.
/ Source: TODAY

Krystal, a fast-food burger chain with hundreds of locations throughout the Southeast, has filed for bankruptcy.

The restaurant, which was founded in 1932 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, filed its petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in court on Sunday, citing debts between $50 million to $100 million, according to National Restaurant News. The chain, which is the second-oldest in the U.S., is now headquartered in Georgia.

"The actions we are taking are intended to enable Krystal to establish a stronger business for the future and to achieve a restructuring in a fast and efficient manner," the company said in a statement released Monday. "We are pleased to be ready to move toward a brighter future for the brand and have the support of our stakeholders."

Krystal is one of the country's oldest fast-food restaurants and it was founded in 1932. It's known its small, square slider burgers.
Krystal is one of the country's oldest fast-food restaurants and it was founded in 1932. It's known its small, square slider burgers. Shutterstock

Krystal currently has 318 restaurants, 202 of which are company owned and 116 are franchised. In late October, the company announced plans to franchise between 100 to 150 of its company-owned restaurants.

Krystal also hired an investment firm to help re-franchise locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, according to a press release.

This restructuring plan was followed by news of change in corporate leadership. It was announced in November that Paul Macaluso, the company's president and CEO, and chief financial officer Berry Epley had left the company. Krystal brought on Tim Ward, who previously worked at Captain D’s, to fill Macaluso's former positions, and Bruce Vermilyea, who spent 18 years at Qdoba, was brought in as the new CFO.

Since bringing in the new leaders, the chain says it has worked on updating restaurant facilities and improving the quality of its food.

Some fans of the slider chain are already devastated by the idea of the restaurant potentially going out of business.

Others seem totally at ease with the thought of the chain becoming a relic of the past.

In light of the bankruptcy news, the company has yet to make any announcements regarding whether any locations will be forced to close or if company layoffs will take place. A spokesperson for Krystal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Krystal, which is known for its mini square-shaped burgers topped with diced onions, mustard and a dill pickle slice, opened about a decade after White Castle, which was founded in 1921.