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Sbarro, having emerged from its second Chapter 11 bankruptcy in three years in June 2014, has had a lot to overcome. David Karam, who is a 250-unit Wendy's franchisee and at one time ran the brand, talks here about the changes made at Sbarro while he has been its CEO over the last three years.
I assumed the role of CEO in 2013 and realized the business was very heavily overleveraged. While it had gone through a restructuring a few years earlier, Sbarro had left a lot of debt on the books. We developed a plan for a second restructuring. Sbarro had a broad menu offering, and I felt there was a big opportunity to tighten the positioning around pizza. We eliminated probably 30 or 40 percent of the menu items. I also relocated the company to Columbus, Ohio, which is where I live and where [Karam’s holdings group] Cedar Enterprises is based. We closed about 170 restaurants, shed almost all of our debt, and put the business on very sound financial footing. — QSR
In keeping with his role as CEO, Karam expresses optimism for his company's future.
It’s been a very hectic three years, and I feel very proud of the work that our team has accomplished with the Sbarro and Cucinova brands. We’ve attracted a lot of new franchisees and have the brand growing again. We’ve got a long way to go, but I think we’ve got a very bright future. — QSR