Houston-based Ignite Restaurant Group Inc. — the parent company for Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap — is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as next week.
The potential bankruptcy comes as the company is for either Ignite’s entire business or separate sales of its two brands. Ignite also recently was de-listed from the Nasdaq Stock Market and underwent some executive changes, as Jonathan Tibus replaced CEO Robert Merritt.
Ignite’s revenue was down 8.5 percent in 2016 compared with 2015, according to company filings. Joe’s Crab Shack revenue was down about 11.5 percent year over year.
Ignite has had a rocky couple of years. Last summer, executives said the second-quarter results were disappointing and some under performing locations would close. Prior to that, Joe’s Crab Shack ended its no-tipping test at nearly all of the locations that implemented the new service model.
A year earlier, Ignite sold Romano’s Macaroni Grill for $8 million, just two years after buying it for $55 million. Ray Blanchette, Ignite’s CEO at the time, said, “Unfortunately, the brand was unable to deliver, in a timely manner, on the milestones we established.” The Addison Romano’s Macaroni Grill in Addison closed recently.