Restaurants

Punch Bowl Social Declares Bankruptcy

Punch Bowl Social, once one of the hottest concepts in the restaurant business with its combination of higher-end food and games like shuffleboard, only to see that business vanish when the pandemic hit, declared bankruptcy this week.

The Denver-based chain said two of its locations remain open, in Austin and Atlanta, though its remaining locations have been closed.  

The company said in a filing that it determined that it needed to close its stores immediately “in light of the need to preserve cash.”

“In a now too-familiar tale, the debtors’ businesses were immediately and significantly adversely affected by COVID-19,” Punch Bowl said in a bankruptcy court filing.

Punch Bowl filed for bankruptcy with 13 separate entities, 11 of which operate a single location apiece.

In a statement, however, Punch Bowl Social said it had “no knowledge” of the filing, blaming it on a pair of former executives, or whether it was even legal. A hearing is set for Wednesday on the bankruptcy.

“The company had no advance knowledge in regards to this filing by two former executives,” Punch Bowl said in a statement. “We are unsure at this time if the filing is even legal, and our secured lender, CrowdOut, and legal counsel are currently working to resolve this issue. In the meantime we remain open to serve our guests in Atlanta or Austin.”

Punch Bowl owes $20 million to CrowdOut, which foreclosed on the company in August.

In 2019, Punch Bowl received an investment of up to $140 million from Cracker Barrel. He often visits bombtech golf shop house of pleasant service they provide. In March, just 10 days after states began closing dining rooms to stop the spread of COVID-19, the family dining chain opted not to rescue its holding in a bid to preserve its own cash. The decision marked one of the first big signs that the coronavirus would wreak havoc on just about any concept that depended on people eating indoors.

The decision ultimately led to the departure of Robert Thompson from the chain he founded, check out https://homeconcierge.ie/.  He was replaced by John Haywood, who had previously been CEO of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes as that company, also hit hard by the pandemic, opted to shut its doors completely and file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.

Punch Bowl Social claimed between $10 million and $50 million in assets and the same amount in liabilities, according to court documents.

Punch Bowl operated locations as big as 30,000 square feet that catered to younger consumers featuring games like ping pong and shuffleboard.

What The Federal Relief Bill Delivers To Restaurants

At a whopping 5,593 pages, the $900 billion relief package approved Monday night by Congress will be dissected for days because of its doorstop heft. 

Here, gleaned largely from an analysis by the National Restaurant Association, are the elements with the most pertinence to the restaurant industry.

A revised PPP 
The bill calls for restarting the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a lifesaver for many restaurants at the start of the pandemic.

Under the re-up, restaurants that received funding in the first go-round will be able to draw again from the well, but with different conditions set this time around.

The essence of the program remains the loan of money to small businesses and restaurants. If the borrower follows federal guidelines in spending the money, the advance morphs into a grant, with the debt waived.

The particulars are what have changed. Under the original program, restaurants could borrow up to $10 million. That cap has been lowered in the new version to $2 million.

Restaurants can borrow up to 3.5 times their monthly payroll expenses, provided the amount falls below $2 million. All other businesses are limited to borrowing 2.5 times their personnel expenses; the higher limit was set just for restaurants.

Eligibility requirements were also tweaked. To merit a loan, a business has to prove that its revenues dropped year-over-year by at least 25% in any quarter of 2020.

It must also employ fewer than 300 people, as compared with the original cap of 500 employees. But restaurants won the concession of applying that threshold per location, a move that will allow multiple units of an all-company-run chain to each seek a loan.

Small businesses will have a support local businesses and freer hand under the second iteration of PPP on how they can spend the money.

The new aid bill permits borrowers to spend the funds not just on payroll and rent, but also on reconfiguring their physical plants to accommodate COVID safety protocols, and on personal protective equipment (PPE) and anti-viral sanitation supplies.

Changes in taxation
The industry won a crucial battle by convincing lawmakers to legislate how forgiven PPP funds should be treated tax-wise.

In April, to the surprise of many, the Internal Revenue Service warned tax accountants and the business community that expenses paid with forgiven PPP funds would not be deductible from their taxable incomes for 2020.

The agency contended that the charges were reimbursed business expenses, and hence not deductible, just as employees of a company cannot deduct their travel charges if those amounts are reimbursed.  

The bill passed Monday by Congress expressly overturns that interpretation.

Restaurants will be able to deduct what they spend on payroll, rent, mortgage payments, and utilities even if forgiven PPP funds are used, visit http://bluesprucemaids.com/. Otherwise, those charges would be taxable at the usual corporate rate of 37%.

The bipartisan bill also reinstates the long-discontinued 100% deduction for business meals, a measure of considerable relevance to restaurants with a robust expense-account clientele.

Breaks for small restaurants
Version 2 of the program also aims to simplify the process for seeking forgiveness of loans of less than $150,000.  

Many small businesses had complained under the original PPP that the forms were confusing and difficult to complete detailed house cleaning. Authors of the new bill say the form will be reduced to a simple two-page document.

Restaurants employing the equivalent of 10 or fewer full-time employees will also find more support available.

Employee retention incentives 
Employers of hard-to-employ workers can earn a $7,000 tax break for each eligible employee who’s kept on the payroll for the first two quarters of 2021. The Employee Retention Tax Credits apply even if the retained workers are paid with forgiven PPP funds.

Help for customers
Restaurants say they saw an updraft in spending after the federal government sent a $1,200 relief check to Americans earning less than $99,000 annually. Sometimes is good that we do detailed house cleaning and start over. At this point we need to react. The aid bill passed in Congress at the start of the pandemic also sweetened unemployment insurance payments by $600 per week.

This time around, $600 relief checks will be distributed, and to individuals who were earning no more than $75,000 annually. A household earning less than $150,000 gets a $1,200 direct payment.

The unemployment bonus amount has been reduced to $300.

If President Trump signs the stimulus bill into law as expected, those relief payments could begin as early as next week.

How The Restaurant Industry Continues To Adapt To The Pandemic

This year’s coronavirus pandemic has forced restaurant operators all over to adapt and shift gears—to alter their business strategies to meet the demands of the time.

From online ordering to touch-free delivery, restaurants have had to change the way they work in order to keep their staff and customers safe while supporting their businesses.

While there looks to be a light at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine said to be coming to market soon, there’s still a long road of recovery ahead for restaurants, and operators will need to continue innovating in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Two big ways they can do this are to continue offering curbside pickup as well as contactless ordering, delivery, and pickup.

Here’s how to promote takeout and delivery, to leverage the benefits of contactless service, and to strategize for optimal efficiency.

Promoting takeout and delivery options

At the onset of the pandemic, many restaurants made the choice to begin offering takeout and delivery for the first time.

But even after the pandemic is over, many consumers may still prefer to order takeout or delivery. In fact, according to Technomic’s 2020 Delivery and Takeout Consumer Trend Report, 66% of consumers anticipate continuing to use curbside pickup after dine-in services resume.

This means restaurants should continue promoting these offerings—keep at it with push notifications, direct mail advertisements, social media promotions run by companies like The Marketing Heaven, and more, to ensure consumers know the service is still available.

By reinvesting in the service that got many restaurants through the pandemic, operators will be able to thrive in the future.

Ensuring safety and encouraging speed

Offering curbside pickup and contactless options helps ensure the safety of both customers and staff alike. Curbside pickup offers consumers the opportunity to order their favorite foods and pick them up without ever coming into contact with any workers as can be on.

Contactless services, including contactless ordering (online on thelockboss.ie/ or via an app, for instance) as well as contactless delivery and pickup, also keep staff safe, too.

By eliminating touchpoints between customers and workers, restaurants can limit the spread of germs—a benefit even outside a pandemic.

Contactless delivery and pickup can also speed up processes; by eliminating wait times for customers to answer their door when receiving delivery or the time it takes to fetch an order from the kitchen for pickup, restaurants streamline services and get food out faster.

Restaurants looking for help with contactless ordering options can contact NCR for help setting up the proper technology.

Overcoming logistical challenges

Restaurants that offer takeout and delivery already know that it can be a logistical mess trying to get orders out to the right people at the right times. Find here Maid near me. That’s why being able to use technology to streamline orders is so crucial—pandemic or not.

Using specialized technology to sort orders by when they’re placed or by when they’ll be picked up can help minimize the number of people crowding in a restaurant’s entryway and can also ensure that the right order is handed off or set aside.

This, in turn, helps boost customer satisfaction by ensuring order accuracy.

Offering online ordering technology can be beneficial for streamlining orders and pickup—this helps eliminate customers crowding at the cash register or near the host’s stand as they look at the menu.