Restaurant Debt Braces for a Record as Industry Growth Slows

The restaurant industry is bracing for a reckoning as a record tide of debt threatens to choke franchisees of major chains like Pizza Hut and Burger King. Like other industries, restaurants have taken advantage of more than a decade of ultra-low interest rates and levered up to build new locations — or sometimes simply to reward shareholders. That’s a change from past decades, when restaurant debt levels were low compared with other industries.