This morning, my daughter and I went out to breakfast to celebrate her birthday. We went to a popular local breakfast spot that we’ve been going to for years on her birthday. The same Saint Patrick’s Day specials were being offered – Benedicts with various Irish modifications – but unlike other years, there were only two other tables occupied.
If you’re a restaurant owner, then chances are you know the seasons of the year about as well as a farmer does: summer vacation, back-to-school, football tailgating season, hurricane closings, Thanksgiving, Christmas, snow closings, Valentines Day, spring break, Mother’s Day, prom, graduation, each of these has an effect on business, for better or worse. Had a good July? Just you wait, there’s sure to be a hurricane in August to crush you. Had a bad April? Hold on, Mother’s Day is just around the corner.
But the COVID-19 hit is something different. This wasn’t on anybody’s calendar and even the most well-known restaurants are closing out of caution. And if you aren’t closed outright, then with the trickle of diners coming in, you might as well be.
But closing your doors only does so much. Sure, your payroll costs go down; your vendors and suppliers, too.
But your lease payment? Nope.
Your loan with the brick-and-mortar bank down the street? They’ll be sympathetic, but they still want to be paid.
The online, hard-money, lender who advertises on talk radio and takes daily drafts from your bank account at Payday Loan rates? You won’t even get sympathy from him.
There are no easy answers, and even the hard answers depend greatly on the specifics of each business – the amount of debt you are carrying, the kind of debt you have, and more – but bankruptcy can often provide relief.
While filing a bankruptcy case is often a last resort, consulting with a bankruptcy attorney should not be. We’ll talk to you and let you know your options without charging any sort of fees until you decide you’re ready to file.