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FACTBOX-Recent U.S. restaurant bankruptcies

Feb 6 (Reuters) - (Reuters) - A handful of high-profile U.S. restaurant chains have filed bankruptcy as diners slash their restaurant spending during the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression.

Restructuring experts are forecasting that 2009 will bring more restaurant bankruptcies than 2008 as the industry struggles with oversupply, deteriorating consumer spending and a lack of credit for refinancing. [ID:nN06456399]

Here is a list of some U.S. retailers who have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent months:

PECUS ARG

Pecus ARG Holding Inc, the parent of the Black Angus Steakhouse restaurant chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan 15, 2009.

At the time of its filing, the Los Altos, California-based company had 69 restaurants in seven western U.S. states. The company said sales fell about 26 percent from 2006 to 2008.

The operator added that its “restaurants primarily are located in some of the areas hardest hit by the mortgage crisis, causing consumers in those markets to cut back on discretionary spending, such as dining out.”

METROMEDIA STEAKHOUSES

Metromedia Steakhouses Co LP, the operator of the Ponderosa and Bonanza steakhouse chains, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 22, 2008.

The Plano, Texas-based company said its restaurants were unable to generate enough cash to meet operating needs and that it had “exhausted” its loan options in a collapsed credit market.

S&A RESTAURANT

In one of the largest restaurant bankruptcies ever, S&A Restaurant Corp, the company behind the Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale Chains, filed Chapter 7 liquidation on July 29, 2008.

The Metromedia Restaurant Group and three dozen other entities including various Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale affiliates were included in the filing.

The companies fell under the umbrella of billionaire John Kluge’s privately held Metromedia Co. Bennigan’s was founded in 1976 and Steak & Ale was founded in 1966.

VICORP RESTAURANTS

VICORP Restaurants Inc [VIACQR.UL], which operates Village Inn and Bakers Square restaurants, and its parent company VI Acquisitions Corp filed Chapter 11 on April 3, 2008.

The privately held company, which is based in Denver, was founded in 1958 and operated 343 restaurants in 25 states.

BUFFETS HOLDINGS

Buffets Holdings Inc filed for Chapter 11 on Jan 22, 2008.

The largest steak-buffet restaurant chain said at the time of its filing it was operating 626 restaurants in 39 states. The privately-held company’s brands included Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse, Old Country Buffet, HomeTown Buffet, Ryan’s and Fire Mountain. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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