Wednesday, November 17, 2010

claim jumper restaurants,to close poor performing locations

Claim Jumper warns of possible closing!

Claim Jumper Restaurants LLC has filed a layoff notice with the state of Wisconsin in case its Brookfield restaurant closes as part of the company’s sale out of bankruptcy.

Claim Jumper, based in Irvine, Calif., filed for bankruptcy in September. It has reached an agreement to sell its assets to Private Capital Partners, Portland, Ore., though the sale has yet to be approved by a bankruptcy court, according to the layoff notice received by the state Friday. A sale to PCP or another entity would give the buyer the right to choose which leases it assumes.

If the Brookfield Square location is not one of the assumed restaurants, it will close and the employees will lose their jobs, the notice said. A completed sale could result in layoffs on or before Dec. 11.

The notice did not say how many employees Claim Jumper has in Brookfield. The restaurant opened in 2008.

Claim Jumper warns of possible closing!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

new flavor soup at claim jumper,condom soup?

Settlement reached in suit against Claim Jumper restaurant chain over condom in soup

SANTA ANA — A 51-year-old Mission Viejo man today settled his lawsuit against the Claim Jumper restaurant chain over a claim he chewed on a condom found in his French onion soup.

The terms of the settlement, which was reached after nearly three days of negotiations, were not disclosed.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Geoffrey T. Glass ordered both sides to try to settle the case before it was scheduled to go to trial this week.

"The settlement is not to be construed as an admission of liability by either party," according to a joint statement issued by attorneys representing Philip Hodousek and his wife Sherry and Irvine Claim Jumper Restaurants.

"Claim Jumper sincerely regrets, and apologizes for, statements which have appeared in the media which have cast Mr. and Mrs. Hodousek, in an unfavorable light. With the conclusion of this litigation, Claim Jumper wishes the plaintiffs well and sincerely hopes that they are successful in putting this regrettable incident behind them," the statement said.

Joan Gladstone, a spokeswoman for the company, issued a statement to the Orange County Register earlier this month, that said the company found no evidence to support any of the allegations by the Hodouseks of a foreign object in the soup or that there was any employee involvement or wrongdoing.

The Hodouseks, who are real estate brokers, went to the Claim Jumper restaurant at 27845 Santa Margarita Parkway in Mission

Viejo for Easter brunch April 12, 2009, according to their attorneys' trial brief. They joined their teenage daughter and Sherry Hodousek's parents for the meal.

Philip Hodousek ordered his favorite, French onion soup, among other foods, according to the trial brief.

"He immediately began eating the cheese, which was spread across the top portion of the bowl," according to the trial brief. "As he ate the soup, the family was engaged in conversation.

"Suddenly, he felt what he believed was tough cheese on one side of this mouth. When he could not chew it into pieces, Philip commented to his family that it felt like rubber. He then spit it out, spooned it onto a napkin, at which time his wife said, `Oh my God, it's a condom.' "

The restaurant's general manager initially said he thought it was a rubber glove, which the employees use when preparing food, according to the trial brief. The manager untied the piece of plastic, which was in a knot, and realized it was a condom, according to the trial brief.

"He apologized, and indicated he had `never seen anything like this.' Philip headed for the restroom and vomited," according to the trial brief

The object was sent to a laboratory in North Carolina and preliminary tests revealed female DNA on it, according to the trial brief.

The Hodouseks never made any monetary demands and accused the company of treating them "as scammers and frauds," according to the trial brief.

The couple claimed in their trial brief that Claim Jumper alleged they put the condom in the soup to get money to help them pay off $300,000 in back taxes. That tax dispute has been resolved "for a fraction" of that amount, according to the trial brief.

The couple sued for emotional distress and claimed the incident affected their relationship so much they were afraid to engage in intercourse for fear of contracting a disease.

Claim Jumper attorneys claimed in their trial brief that the company did nothing wrong and were prepared to argue the couple brought on their own troubles by going to the Orange County Register with their story, an allegation the couple denies.

The company's attorneys also argued in a trial brief that Philip Hodousek changed his story about his encounter with the condom several times.

The company earlier tried to resolve the case with an offer of $5,001 to Sherry Hodousek and $25,001 to Philip Hodousek.

fresno claim jumper restaurant closing?

Future of Fresno's Claim Jumper uncertain

Claim JumperFresno's Claim Jumper Restaurant could close as soon as Dec. 18 — leaving 89 people out of work — pending a decision from the chain's new corporate owner.

Houston-based Landry's Restaurants, Inc. announced Oct. 29 that it had acquired 46 Claim Jumper locations throughout the U.S. through a bankruptcy auction with a $76.6 million bid. Irvine-based Claim Jumper filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 10.
The Fresno location was one of several across the county that filed a state layoff notice in anticipation that a new owner would reject some of the leases. The notice states that 89 workers at the restaurant located at the River Park Plaza shopping center could be laid off by Dec. 18 — something the new owner would neither confirm or deny.

"No decision has been made as of today. Hope to know soon," said Mark Augarten, chief operating officer of Claim Jumper Restaurants, in a statement regarding the Fresno location, which opened in 2005.

Landry's Restaurants also announced Monday that it acquired the 32 locations of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., including restaurants in Hollywood, Santa Monica and San Francisco. It now owns more than 200 restaurants across the country. The Rainforest Cafe is another Landry's restaurant concept. It also owns the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev.

Last month, Tilman Fertitta, Landry's CEO and founder, took the company private with a $1.4 billion buyout.

Monday, November 1, 2010

claim jumper restaurants files chapter 11 in preparation for sale

With Plan to Sell Business
By Dawn McCarty and Michael Bathon

Claim Jumper Restaurants LLC, the operator of a restaurant chain in California and seven other states, sought bankruptcy protection with a plan to sell the business to one of its investors.

The Irvine, California-based company listed assets of as much as $100 million and debt of as much as $500 million in Chapter 11 documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Private Capital Partners, an affiliate of Los Angeles-based Canyon Capital Advisors LLC, agreed to buy virtually all of the assets, Claim Jumper said today in a statement. Claim Jumper expects to leave bankruptcy in 60 to 75 days with no debt. The company said it filed a motion to set up an asset auction.

“Our operations will continue just as they always have during the sale process,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Augarten said in the statement. Piper Jaffray & Co. is Claim Jumper’s adviser on the sale and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCoy LLP is the lead bankruptcy counsel, Claim Jumper said.

Craig Nickoloff opened the first Claim Jumper Restaurant in Los Alamitos, California in 1977. The chain consists of 45 restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin, according to the company website.

Gold Rush Purchase Corp. owns 75.3 percent of the equity of Claim Jumper Restaurants and the remainder is owned by Claim Jumper Restaurants Holdings Corp., court papers show.

The case is In re Claim Jumper Restaurants LLC, 10-12819, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Dawn McCarty in Wilmington at; Michael Bathon in Wilmington, Delaware, at