Fast casual Noon Mediterranean, which rebranded from VERTS last November, filed for bankruptcy protection in early August. The chain also closed seven restaurants and laid off 89 employees as part of its reorganization, including 10 at its corporate headquarters, according to an initial bankruptcy petition. The petition reports $1–$10 million in assets and $10–$50 million liabilities across 50–99 creditors.
When Noon flipped the branding switch last November, the company had 19 units. Founded in 2011 in Austin, Texas, the concept moved its office to New York City as it prepared to open a second Big Apple outpost. Back in September 2016, the chain was pushing 40 locations, and had a target of 250 restaurants by 2020. Noon was its third rebrand; the first name was VertsKebap, a reference to döner kebap, a Mediterranean dish of grilled meats that is ubiquitous in European countries like Germany. Noon was intended to drum up feelings of lunch and the middle of the day—dayparts where the concept did its best business. Gin Lane, known for its work with Sweetgreen, helped rebrand the restaurant from the inside out, reworking the color scheme, signage, logo, and more.
“We learned over time as our expectations grew, as our food and our team grew, as everything grew, that the name was actually limiting us,” co-founder Michael Heyne said at the time. Dominik Stein is Noon’s other co-founder. “The old name, it was not witty and millennial,” Heyne added. “This one is. It was difficult. All the emotions you experience are loaded onto your old name. But we’re also not afraid of changing. We didn’t start a restaurant company to give it one name and keep it. We started a restaurant company because of our approach to cooking, to culture, to people. And that old name was just not the right one.”
Noon said in court documents that it’s looking for an investor to complete a transaction in hopes of keeping the brand running as it sheds leases at underperforming stores. Stefan Boyd, who joined Noon was VP of finance in March, 2017, is listed as president and CEO in the petition.