Food court-dwelling pizza chain Sbarro is closing 155 of its 400 stores in North America in a bid to improve its dwindling financial situation. The closures will only affect company-owned stores, not franchises, but it still means less opportunity to get a wan slice of pizza the next time you find yourself in an airport or train station.
Sbarro has hired restructuring advisers to address the fallout from weaker demand, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Long Island-based pizza chain found it difficult to reemerge after filing for bankruptcy in 2011, despite being a ubiquitous presence inside the nation's mall food courts. But that is precisely part of the problem, as shopping center crowds have thinned out, spending less money and shrinking traffic.
“Despite the closures announced today, Sbarro remains a vibrant and growing brand with more than 800 stores worldwide, including 81 that were opened in 2013,” the company said in the statement.
According to Bloomberg, even though stores will be shutting down, Sbarro has expanded abroad and opened several restaurants in South America last year.
Sbarro is currently soliciting advice from Twitter users on how to step up its social media presence. Below are some responses to the news from Twitter, including one of the saddest selfies ever taken from a despondent Sbarro employee.
@juliejargon I remember Sbarro's last bankruptcy like it was yesterday. (Because it kind of almost was.)— Rachel Feintzeig (@RachelFeintzeig) February 19, 2014
Sbarro, the authentic italian pizza experience— Zethus Suen (@zethussuen) February 19, 2014