A Popeyes franchisee that started its business in Birmingham has filed for bankruptcy protection after facing financial and operational challenges following the death of its owner.
Premier Cajun Kings, which operates 19 Popeyes restaurants in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday in the Northern District of Alabama.
The company was founded in 2018 by Manraj “Patrick” Sidhu, who acquired six Popeyes stores in and around Birmingham.
He then expanded his portfolio by adding 24 more stores across three states between 2018 and 2019. At its peak, the company had annual sales of more than $30 million and employed nearly 500 workers.
However, Sidhu died unexpectedly in May 2022, leaving behind a company that was struggling with inflation, high-interest rates, labor shortages, and the COVID-19 pandemic. According to court documents, Sidhu was not only the sole member of the company but also the sole manager.
“This tragic loss, coupled with various macroeconomic factors, has caused tremendous uncertainty and disruption within the business,” the documents stated.
To stem its losses and stabilize its operations, Premier Cajun Kings closed 10 underperforming stores in Alabama and Tennessee last year. An 11th store was evicted by a landlord. The company also tried to renegotiate its leases and debt obligations with its creditors but failed to reach an agreement.
As a result, Premier Cajun Kings filed for bankruptcy with $10 million in assets and $20.1 million in liabilities.
The company said it intends to continue operating its remaining stores while it seeks a buyer for its assets. It has reached a limited license agreement with Popeyes to initiate a sales process under court supervision.
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