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Financing

Bamboo Sushi, QuickFish parent declares bankruptcy

Sustainable Restaurant Holdings blamed the coronavirus for the move, which is intended to help the company find a buyer.
Photograph courtesy of Sustainable Restaurant Holdings

The parent company for seafood chains Bamboo Sushi and QuickFish on Tuesday filed for federal bankruptcy protection, blaming the coronavirus shutdown for limiting its ability to generate revenue or get financing to make it through the crisis.

Sustainable Restaurant Holdings (SRH) has received $1.9 million in financing from existing investors, including Bain Capital Double Impact Fund, to make it through the restructuring. The company has also launched a sale process.

“We are facing the same challenges as many other consumer-backed businesses, especially those in the restaurant industry,” Matthew Park, president and interim CEO of SRH, said in a statement. “In this environment, we simply are not able to generate sufficient revenue to meet our day-to-day and long-term obligations.”

Portland, Ore.-based Sustainable was founded in 2008 with the launch of Bamboo Sushi, a sustainable sushi chain. Eight years later, it added quick-service poke chain QuickFish. The company in 2018 received early-stage capital from Bain and Kitchen Fund, when it had six locations.

The company currently operates 10 restaurants.

According to a bankruptcy court filing, SRH has just over $4 million in various unsecured debt.

The company suspended in-restaurant dining in March at all of its locations, with takeout and delivery available at three of them. It also furloughed or laid off 90% of its employees.

The loss of business left the company “incapable of meeting their obligations,” including to employees, landlords, vendors, suppliers and other creditors.

The company in March hired BMO Capital Markets to explore the debt markets, bring on investors or sell it outright. Some investors looked at the company, according to a filing, but “it became clear that the needed incremental financing was not available in the current market conditions.”

SRH then hired SSG Capital Advisors to continue marketing the company during the bankruptcy process.

By filing for bankruptcy, the company was able to secure financing to stay in business while it looks for a buyer. SRH said funds from Bain and available cash should help it continue to operate through the bankruptcy process.

SRH said it plans to rehire furloughed workers and resume operations “as soon as the health risks related to COVID-19 subside and government restrictions are lifted.”

SRH is the latest restaurant company to file for bankruptcy protection or say it plans to file. FoodFirst Global Restaurants and TooJay’s Original Gourmet Deli have filed, and Garden Fresh Restaurants has indicated it also plans to seek debt protection.

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