Element Fresh, an American-style restaurant chain based in Shanghai, China, has announced its closing of several stores due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Element Fresh made the announcement in a letter posted on its official website on Dec. 14. The company explained that its operations were seriously affected and had faced difficulties since January 2020.

For the past two years, the chain has seen slow operations, which caused severe losses, according to Aboluowang.

Element Fresh opened its first restaurant in Shanghai in 2002, then established a long-term cooperation relationship with the Shanghai Masters Cup tennis tournament and won the title of “China’s Best Employer” in 2009-2013 in many branches. In Shanghai, it was named “Best American Restaurant.” 

Element Fresh said that the company is currently experiencing a severe capital loss and is conducting bankruptcy liquidation procedures by national regulations and laws. 

Element Fresh will gradually close restaurants, kitchens, and administrative offices. Office workers of closed stores can sign agreements to suspend and leave work. For those stores that have not yet closed during the bankruptcy process, all company employees will be paid wages and the payment time determined based on performance evaluation and the company’s cash flow. However, “the company encourages employees to find their own way. 

Element Fresh restaurants in Beijing and Shenzhen will still keep operating. However, in Shanghai, two restaurants are temporarily closed. 

According to Bloomberg, at the beginning of November, Element Fresh was looking for potential buyers, and the transaction could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.

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