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BJ’s Restaurants suspends rent payments

The casual chain said it is negotiating with landlords in hopes of getting the fees suspended or restructured.
Photograph: Shutterstock

BJ’s Restaurants is trying to renegotiate its rent obligations after suspending payments to landlords starting with the fees due for April, the company alerted investors yesterday.

In a securities filing, BJ’s also indicated that it has furloughed 16,000 hourly employees. The affected workers were paid for accrued and unused vacation time and sick leave. BJ’s said it has also provided emergency paid leave to employees who did not qualify for that benefit under state or local laws. 

All 209 of the chain’s restaurants remain open, though exclusively for takeout and delivery, BJ’s said.

The company indicated that it held off on paying April rents because of the drop in sales from the COVID-19 pandemic. It aired hopes that it could suspend the occupancy fees or restructure the obligations going forward.

April rents were the first due since the pandemic shut down dining rooms from coast to coast. The Cheesecake Factory also announced that it has suspended rent payments.

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