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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pizzaria Uno in Trouble

As I reported last fall, I was a latecomer to the Pizzaria Uno fan club - I likely would have never even darkened their door if not for my Chicago pizza experience at The Exchequer in the loop. As it turns out, the chain has fallen upon even harder times than I imagined when I penned my lovefest for them last year:

Uno Restaurant Holdings Corp., owner of the Uno Chicago Grill chain of more than 200 pizzeria restaurants, will have its credit ratings cut to ``default'' if it goes ahead with a plan to miss a bond payment due this week.

The company said yesterday it will delay paying interest, making use of a 30-day grace period allowed in the terms of its $142 million of notes due 2011, according to a statement from Standard & Poor's. S&P lowered Uno by two levels to CC and said it would downgrade again to its lowest rating of D if the West Roxbury, Massachusetts-based company fails to pay on Aug. 15. Moody's Investors Service cut its rating to an equivalent Ca.

Fewer diners as the economy slows forced Buffets Holdings Inc., the operator of 127 restaurants, to file for Chapter 11 protection from creditors in January. Independence, Ohio-based Midland Food Services LLC, which runs 92 Pizza Hut restaurants, sought protection from creditors this month because of ``substantial'' increases in raw materials as well as increases to the minimum wage.

Oh well, at least we'll always have. . .hmmm. . .Chicago? We dropped by there a few weeks ago on our way to Wisconsin. Not very practical on the average Friday night, but still within reach. . . (sigh)

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