Salt Lake City-based sandwich chain Even Stevens announced March 22 that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The brand, known for its “eat to give” philanthropic mission to donate a sandwich for every sandwich sold in the shop, recently closed five of its 15 locations. Those closings are a part of a restructuring process that started over seven months ago, according to the company.
More closures are on the way “in order to right-size the company and put it on track to achieve enterprise-level profits," Brooks Pickering, chief restructuring officer for the company, said in a statement March 21.
Even Stevens owes between $1 million and $10 million combined to dozens of creditors, according to bankruptcy documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona. The documents state that the company has between zero and $50,000 in assets.
“We have a great product and an honorable mission,” Pickering said in a statement. “Unfortunately, business decisions made under former management have put us in a difficult position. We are confident the steps we are taking and the path we have charted will ensure the long-term viability of the company.”
According to the company, the bankruptcy filing will allow it to conduct business during the continuing restructuring process.
"While the restructuring to date has significantly improved operations, the remaining challenges require the tools afforded through the bankruptcy process to properly protect the interests of our investors, financiers, employees and customers,” Pickering said. “With the proper business organization and financial discipline, we look forward to achieving long-term success."
In May 2018, Even Stevens founder Steve Down was fined $150,000 after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint in federal court. The complaint stated Down had misrepresented the financial success of different event centers he owns. After this incident, Even Stevens distanced themselves from him, stating he had no role in the daily operations of the company.
The decisions made by former management "have put us in a difficult position," Pickering said in a statement.