Cheesecake Factory has reportedly decided to not pay rent for April at any of the chain’s locations because of business lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The severe decrease in restaurant traffic has severely decreased our cash flow and inflicted a tremendous financial blow to our business,” CEO David Overton wrote to landlords in a letter obtained by the Eater website.
Restaurants and restaurant workers have struggled with closures and takeout/delivery-only models in many areas impacted by the outbreaks. Yum! Brands, which owns chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, said it is closing some 7,000 restaurants due to the pandemic. Waffle House, famous for having a logistics network that keeps its locations operating during disasters, said it was closing more than 400 of its 2,000 locations.
Cheesecake Factory said this same climate would make it impossible for the company to pay rent.
“Due to these extraordinary events, I am asking for your patience and, frankly, your help,” Overton wrote, adding that he hoped to begin making rent payments “as soon as reasonably possible.”
CFO Matthew Clark told People magazine that the company hopes to lean on its “strong, longstanding relationships” with landlords.
“We are certain that with their partnership, we will be able to work together to weather this storm in the appropriate manner,” Clark said.
According to Statista, Cheesecake Factory operates close to 300 locations in the United States and Canada and employs some 45,000 workers.
Some on Twitter hailed the restaurant chain for unexpectedly championing a cause favored by many who are struggling to make ends meet after losing work due to the pandemic: