By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Sizzler, the Orange County-based restaurant chain known for its moderately priced steaks and expansive salad bar, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday.

The Mission Viejo-based chain, which operates 107 locations, blamed falling sales on the COVID-19 pandemic — reporting between $1 million and $10 million in liabilities and the same amount on assets, according to trade publication Restaurant Business.

“The filing is a direct result of the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the casual dining sector, particularly long-term indoor dining closures and landlords’ refusal to provide necessary rent abatement,” Chris Perkins, the president and chief services officer of Sizzler USA, said in a prepared statement.

The chain plans to keep all of its locations open for business throughout the process and franchisees would not be affected, according to the company. Sizzler said it anticipates emerging from the the process within 120 days.

“Today’s filing represents a new chapter for Sizzler, and it’s an option we’ve undertaken based on the underlying strength of our 62-year-old legacy brand,” Perkins said. “Many restaurant brands across the country have suffered because of COVID-19 and Sizzler USA is no exception.”

According to the company, the filing allows Sizzler to “do everything we can to support our employees and franchisees” and “build a stronger future.”

Sales at Sizzler were already declining before the pandemic, according to Eater Los Angeles, and it remained unclear how many locations would remain open following the filing.

The company owns 14 restaurant locations. The remaining 93 are franchises, and the company said it would be looking for renegotiate lease terms with landlords at those locations, according to Eater.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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