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Johnny Carino’s Files for Bankruptcy

A Johnny Carino's franchise in Ky. Photo/bmm

Yet another franchisor in March cannot pay its bills. Johnny Carino's filed for bankruptcy on Thursday. The Texas-based Italian restaurant chain of 130 company-owned and franchised locations filed Chapter 11 protection to help it out of insolvency, according to Dow Jones ($$ subscription).

Preceded by franchisee pain

There is evidence of franchisee pain in this system long before the franchisor's bankruptcy. That came as recently as last year when Johnny Carino franchisee KampCo Foods LLC, with multiple restaurants from Kansas to Texas, shuttered its Topeka doors, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Little information could be gleaned about the Italian restaurant — its corporate headquarters only confirmed the restaurant was closed and declined further comment. As of Monday, the Topeka location owed $23,520.49 in 2012 taxes, according to the Shawnee County counselor's office. The Kansas City, Kan., location, 1706 Village West Parkway, owed $44,089.74 in 2013 taxes as of Monday, according to the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan.

There are other Carino's closures in the press, like franchisee Tomatto Grotto LLC of Norton Shores, Michigan.

Franchisee suicide

But this story from August 2006 from the Austin Business Journal of franchisee Mark Day's suicide reads eerily parallel to the suicide of Quiznos franchisee Bob Baber in December 2006 and franchisor Quiznos' declaration this month, years later, of insolvency.

Mark Day, who headed the Sandia Food Group of businesses that controlled 13 Carino's restaurants in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, killed himself July 19, just weeks before his restaurant empire filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Aug. 4… Sandia's business partners spent days trying to untangle the farmers-knot of companies responsible for its operations and get their approval before filing for bankruptcy…

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Staff reporter for Blue MauMau