The owner of Hot Dog on a Stick, the employee-owned purveyor of corn dogs and deep-fried cheese in dozens of malls in the western United States, filed for bankruptcy to reorganize and cut real estate costs.

HDOS Enterprises listed debt of less than $10 million and less than $50 million in assets in a Chapter 11 petition filed Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles. The chain "signed some very expensive leases during the booming economy of the mid-2000s," CEO Dan Smith said in a statement. It also suffered from a decline in foot traffic at the malls where it does much of its business.

Founded in 1946 with a beach stand in Santa Monica, Calif., Hot Dog on a Stick became known for small mall-based stores that featured a short menu and employees in bright uniforms of red, white, yellow and blue.

When founder Dave Barham died in 1991, he left the company to its employees. Today, HDOS says it has more than 90 stores in 11 states.

bloomberg news