Locations could close if lease agreements are not met.

On Monday, Matchbox Restaurant Group announced its decision to file for bankruptcy. The D.C.-based food company, the District's fifth-largest, submitted a claim for Chapter 11 reorganization for its restaurants. With court approval, they plan to be bought out by Thompson Hospitality, who has overseen management for the group since 2018. Their partnership began with an $11 million investment.

“Restructuring will allow us to right-size our balance sheet and position the business for growth going forward,” Edwin Sheridan IV, a member of the Matchbox Food Group board of directors, said in a public statement. “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the restaurant industry has been swift and damaging.”

First opening in D.C.'s Chinatown in 2003, Matchbox made itself known for its pub atmosphere selling sliders and wood-fired pizzas. They operate locations all over the DMV, along with Texas and Florida.

The coronavirus has had a palpable effect on Matchbox and the restaurant industry as a whole. With eateries experiencing record loss of profits and fewer people dining out, closures have become inevitable. But Matchbox's struggles have gone beyond the pandemic; in the last few years, the company has shifted leadership while enduring lawsuits with investors.

Currently, the chain is open for patio service and limited-seating dining at its 13 locations. The decision shouldn't factor into operating the restaurants, though the company warns closures are possible if they are unable to reach lease agreements with the properties' landlords.

Sheridan notes the positive impact the decision could have on Matchbox's future, praising the "clear path forward" the opportunity presents. "We are confident that we will emerge stronger."

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