Instant Brands, the company behind the Instant Pot, has filed for bankruptcy, the latest in a growing string of one-time pandemic success stories to flounder as people have returned to their normal lives.
The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, saying it had over $500 million in both assets and liabilities. Demand for the company’s flagship product—which soared during the pandemic as people were under stay-at-home orders—has dwindled, due to both the fading obsession with the pressure cooker and continuing broader economic concerns.
Sales for the company, which was bought by a private equity firm in 2019, were down for the seventh consecutive quarter, falling 21.9% in the first quarter of this year compared to 2022.
“After successfully navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and the global supply-chain crisis, we continue to face additional global macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges that have affected our business,” said Ben Gadbois, president and CEO of Instant Brands, in a statement. “In particular, tightening of credit terms and higher interest rates impacted our liquidity levels and made our capital structure unsustainable. In recent months, we have been working closely with all of our financial stakeholders to position the Company for its next phase of success.”
Beyond the Instant Pot, Instant Brands is the maker of Corelle, Pyrex, Snapware, CorningWare, Visions, and Chicago Cutlery.
The company said business operations will continue as usual during the bankruptcy process.
Instant Brands is the latest company that was ubiquitous during the pandemic and now struggling as life has been moving back toward normal. Several other big businesses have seen growth screech to a halt and revenues fall. Here’s a look at where some of those stand these days.
The fitness company has been something of a poster child for post-pandemic struggles. When people were locked at home, it was barely able to keep up with sales demand. In those days, the backlog to get a Peloton bike in your house could last for months. In 2020, Peloton saw revenues of $1.82 billion, and its market cap reached as high as $50 billion at its peak.
The stock price, though, has plunged from a pandemic high of $171 per share to less than $10 today as demand for its bikes largely vanished once people could return to the gym. (And its recalls didn’t help.) It has since stopped in-house bike production and started selling on Amazon. Last year, Peloton laid off thousands of workers and replaced its CEO. It even revamped its pricing structure, but none of those actions have impressed investors.
Zoom was invaluable to businesses during a time when face-to-face meetings were impossible. And with the continued hybrid work environment, it seemed a chief candidate for transitioning nicely to the post-pandemic world. But sales slowed a lot more than expected as companies tried to bring workers back to the office. Earlier this year, the company cut 15% of its staff. And its stock has gone from a pandemic high of $559 per share to under $69 today.
Once stay-at-home orders expired, people were eager to get out—and the most convenient place to do that was restaurants. That was good for the owners of those establishments, but not so good for food delivery businesses. GrubHub was delisted in March 2022. And DoorDash cut 1,250 jobs at the end of last year, after going on a hiring binge during the pandemic. At around $73 per share, its stock is up more than 50% year to date, but well off its high point of just under $246 in 2021.
Netflix, obviously, is in no imminent danger, but it’s not quite the powerhouse it was in the days where we were obsessed with Tiger King. At around $434 per share, the company’s stock is about 37% off of its all-time highs. Subscriber growth slowed, and Netflix was forced to launch an ad-supported version to offer a lower-cost option to subscribers. Production costs, meanwhile, are being reined back, which means some popular shows, like Bling Empire and Sex/Life, have been canceled (and others are wrapping up). Competition from Max (formerly HBO), Disney, Amazon, and Apple has also impacted the company.