TAUNTON — After more than 30 years since Bertucci’s was founded in Somerville in 1981, the company announced in a statement on Monday that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief.
According to a Tweet posted by the Bertucci’s official account, the “restructuring” had “immediate impact” with the closing of 15 locations, including the one at the Silver City Galleria Mall.
On Monday, some customers who had not heard the news were able to find out from employees who were conducting final business in the restaurant, surrounded by tables stacked with chairs.
“I just found out,” said one Bertucci’s frequenter who had tried to reserve a table on Monday afternoon.
“We could go to Olive Garden,” he suggested to a group he was with as they walked out.
On the Silver City Galleria directory, Bertucci’s was listed as the only restaurant on Monday, outside of those in the mall’s food court.
The Bertucci’s exterior signage that could previously be seen from the parking lot on the side of the mall had also been removed. Any calls made to the restaurant are now referred to an automated announcement to inform customers of the closure.
One employee said on Monday that the announcement was disheartening, particularly for employees and customers who had known the restaurant for decades.
“After so many years here, it’s really sad to hear for some of us here,” said an employee who asked to be referred to as Sadie.
“It’s been a tough year for us, especially since we got a new manager here a couple months ago.”
According to the company’s tweet, affected employees will be able to apply for transfers to other locations.
“We will help our affected team members thru transfers to other Bertucci’s or help securing new jobs locally,” the Tweet stated.
According to a press release on the restaurant’s website, Bertuccis filed for relief with Right Lane Dough Acquisitions, which has made a “stalking horse” bid to purchase “substantially all of Bertucci’s assets and assume certain liabilities, subject to higher or otherwise better offers.”
Fifty-nine locations will remain open for business and the company intends to finish its restructuring process “expeditiously” to “emerge under new ownership, with an improved financial position and stronger brand,” according to the release.
The process will be carried out in the United States Bankruptcy Court and the company has sought the court’s approval for the use of a cash collateral and $4 million in debtor-in-possession financing, which will allow the company to meet its obligations as regularly scheduled for customers, employees, sellers, and vendors, among other creditors.
CEO Brian Wright and CFO Brian Connell will both continue to serve in their current positions, the release said.
“Today’s filing is expected to be seamless for Bertucci’s guests, trading partners and vendors, and result in minimal disruption to its operations, allowing us to strengthen the company’s financial structure and position it for significant future growth,” Wright said in the release.
The Silver City Galleria has lost three anchor stores in the past few years. Best Buy and Macy’s both closed in 2017 and J.C. Penney closed in 2015.