Beloved Southern Fast Food Chain Files For Bankruptcy

Beloved Southern Fast Food Chain Files For Bankruptcy

If you’ve never lived in the South, you may
not be familiar with Krystal, but it so happens that they’re one of the nation’s oldest fast
food chains, second only to White Castle. And, just like White Castle, Krystal is famous
for its small, square-patty sliders. Unfortunately for Krystal, Harold and Kumar
never ventured down into the southern states for their slider fix, so Krystal was never
immortalized in a cult movie. Nor do they have a successful line of frozen
burgers, so their product remains unavailable outside their home territory. Now, in this latest blow to a venerable brand,
Krystal is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Krystal restaurant chain started in 1932
when textile businessman R.B. Davenport decided that the Great Depression
would be a great time to start selling cheap eats to Chattanoogans. He took his inspiration from White Castle,
which dated back to 1921, but avoided any conflict with the other chain by agreeing
to stay below the Mason-Dixon line once he started opening new locations. That way, the two slider sellers would never
have to compete head-to-head. The name Krystal comes from a remark Davenport’s
wife made about the very first restaurant, admiring how “crystal clean” it was – although
for some reason they decided to spell the word with a “k.” “Oh, yeah, I was going by Chrundle at the
time.” “No, no, no, you were trying to write Charlie
and you wrote Chrundle.” “No, I was going by Chrundle the great.” “You came up with that after.” Fast-forward a few decades, and Krystal had
kept up with the times, at first offering drive-in service and then converting to a
standard fast-food dine-in/takeout counter-service operation. They expanded throughout the southeast, and,
although Krystal never achieved the same level of fame as White Castle, they adopted a strong
Southern identity. In fact, they claimed to be a favorite of
both Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton, and to have inspired the stage name of country singer
Crystal Gayle. All that history could turn to tragedy, however,
if they can’t fix their money issues. Krystal’s bankruptcy court filing did not
point to any one reason for their financial struggles, instead listing all of the usual
causes: too many competitors, staffing difficulties, expensive leases, rising food costs, et cetera. Perhaps the real reason Krystal has been struggling,
however, could have been due to its reported plans for an extensive brand “refresh.” Although sales had evidently been on the upswing,
the cost of demolishing and rebuilding aging restaurants might have had Krystal biting
off more than they could chew. AOL Finance reveals that Krystal is currently
$50 to $100 million in debt, and has closed nearly 50 of its restaurants. However, when it comes to bankruptcy court,
this isn’t Krystal’s first rodeo. “Heard you’re having money problems.” “No you didn’t.” “Listen, I got the answer. You declare bankruptcy. It makes all your problems go away.” In December 1995, they filed for Chapter 11,
citing the costs they’d incurred from settling a number of employee lawsuits resulting from
unpaid overtime wages. While Krystal emerged from Chapter 11 some
16 months later, in April 1997, they were soon acquired by an investment company called
Port Royal Holdings. This company was owned by a former Coca-Cola
executive who wanted to re-energize the branding of the company he claimed as a “true southern
icon.” While he did his best, the company was sold
once again in 2012, this time to the Atlanta-based Argonne Capital Group. As a result of this latest acquisition, Krystal
closed its Chattanooga headquarters, abandoning its birthplace after over 80 years in order
to relocate to Atlanta. The slider king of the south evidently considers
itself to be down, but not out. The Chattanooga Times Free Press has published
a phone number for what the chain calls its Restructuring Information Hotline meant to
provide updated information on the changes in store. Fast Company also speculates that there may
still be hope for this venerable fast food chain, citing the earlier bankruptcy and subsequent
recovery. AOL Finance reminds us of the human cost of
Krystal’s potential failure – not only does this mean the South may go slider-less, but
there are also an estimated 6,500 jobs at stake throughout the region. For the sake of the entire Krystal family
and the chain’s numerous fans, we wish the company a speedy recovery and hope it will
soon be back on its feet…or rather, resting on its buns. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
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62 thoughts on “Beloved Southern Fast Food Chain Files For Bankruptcy

  1. Get with it krystal's! Offer frozen. I lived where there was white castle but Krystal's is as good if not better! Bring it further I grew up in Alabama but now live in north Carolina bring it here

  2. If you've never had Krystals, they are like White Castle, but with pickles and maybe mustard. They are delicious beyond belief. I don't know why they would have any money problems, but they must go on.

    Nothing beats a Krystal.

  3. I Loved Krystal at one time but bad employees changed my mind quality too had changed so did I just like Popeyes never again

  4. If Krystal has good food, clean and has friendly service, there is no excuse for the filing for bankruptcy.
    Someone wants them shut down if all the rest is in place.

  5. I never liked Krystal simply because to differ with White Castle, they put mustard on their burgers along with dill pickles. White Castle doesn't put anything on their burgers but steamed onions and a dill pickle. JMO.

  6. Krystal doesn't taste the same as it did 20+ years ago, along with a lot of other fast food burger joints. That and people are eating healthier, even the South is starting to eat healthier.

  7. I'm really surprised they last this long when they quit making the burgers the way they used to and did away with a good old chili. When something is working good you don't change it. That's where a lot of these companies are messing up they want to keep up with the times and not the quality.

  8. Well, it’s time to go to my local Krystal in BGKY as much as I can before they close. We already lost it in nearby Glasgow.

  9. The buildings and equipment were worn out that includes the bathrooms it's impossible to keep that sanitary and disinfected and then there's weak and lazy managers.

  10. I agree, I hope they do go out of business, that gentleman's agreement between white castle and Krystal will be over and I can start getting white castle near me!

  11. This was White Castles evil plan the whole time a all makes sense now they want to take over the Southern States without Crystal balancing the Slayers world then White Castle take over the southern states then the world

  12. A chicken fried steak slider!! Bring Krystal's over to Texas, please! And if the quality is gone like many posters say, bring it back!

  13. Hell, i thought White Castle and krystals was the same company…just different names :P. Like rally’s and checkers?

  14. Not all the south. I've only ever been to Krystals once and never went back. And the only one in my city is in a tourist location.

  15. It is Soooo poor that why would any one eat there any more add there the labor force is poor that the employees just do not care and take no pride in there work so they can not make the money to keep above water and may be there will be some improvement in the product other wise Good By

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