Integrity Brands, the parent company of pizza franchise Uncle Maddio’s, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection April 13 in Atlanta. According to the filing, the company has estimated assets less than $50,000 and liabilities between $1 million and $10 million. It has about $1.5 million in secured debt and less than $3,000 in cash availble.

Uncle Maddio’s is down to 28 locations, per its website. The brand had 42 locations in 2015, the same year it took on a private-equity partner in S&S Group LLC. At the time, the company, which was also an early investor in Five Guys, said it would open up to 17 locations across the country. Uncle Maddio’s, to that date, said it signed franchisee agreements with 57 different enttities in 18 states and was on track to reach 300 restuarants in five years with 1,000 in development.

Uncle Maddio’s unit count dropped by 36 restaurants from 2017 to 2018.

The brand was created in 2009 by CEO Matthew Andrew, one of the founding members and former president of Moe’s Southwest Grill.

In Uncle Maddio’s list of creditors there’s an unsecured claim of nearly $178,000 to Atlanta-based law firm Davis, Pickren, Seydel & Sneed. The firm, through partner Rutherford Seydell II, bought a minority stake in the chain in 2015. Seydel is a minority owner of NBA franchise the Atlanta Hawks. The company said it has 50–99 creditors, including franchisees, investors, and landlords.

Seydel told QSR after the investment that the 50-unit mark would be the “magic number” for Uncle Maddio’s, and that once a brand hits 100, the chances of them sliding backward and greatly reduced. The company never quite got there.

In January 2018, Uncle Maddio’s spoke with QSR about a recent redesign, which it debuted in November 2017 in Acworth, Georgia. It featured an updated layout with payment options up front to cater to on-the-go customers. There was also a second prep line added to the back and new seating arrangements and décor options.

“We make all strategy decisions through the lens of one, Does it produce a return on investment,” Andrew said. “Two, Is it going to sell more pizza?; and three, Is it good for our people [team members and guests?]”

While the fast-casual pizza segment is one of the most crowded in the industry, some of Uncle Maddio’s competitors have surged. It took Blaze Pizza about six years to open 300 restaurants. MOD Pizza jumped over 400 restaurants in 2018 with sales north of $400 million.

Finance, Story, Uncle Maddio's