Has flatbread flamed out? Cosi, the fast-casual sandwich chain and place you go for lunch only when there are literally no other options nearby, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, after posting a net loss of $3.1 million last quarter and having a disastrously bad 2015 during which it lost $15.7 million. Unable to contend with the likes of Shake Shack and bread-based fast-casual behemoth Panera, Cosi has shuttered 29 of its 74 locations and recently cut 450 jobs.
The truth is that signs have indicated this s’morepocalypse for a while, but nobody seems to have been paying attention. In 2013, Cosi’s stock plummeted 15 percent overnight after a similarly terrible earnings report. The chain had somehow only managed to have a single quarterly profit in 11 years by that point, and it was clear then that it would be one of the first victims of a coming fast-casual bloodbath. Already unable to deal with its competition, the chain has also had to contend, in the last quarter, with the consequences of falling grocery prices, which have led some consumers away from fast-casual restaurants altogether. Cosi also admitted to not keeping up with the trends, evident in the fact that it’s still advertising pumpkin spice lattes on its Instagram. Get with the program, Cosi.