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Cheesecake Factory halts rent payments

Landlords have been alerted by letter that restaurants will stop payments beginning with their April obligations.
Cheesecake Factory storefront
Photograph: Shutterstock

The Cheesecake Factory has alerted landlords that its restaurants will discontinue paying their rents starting in April.

”Please understand that we do not take this action or make this decision lightly, and while we hope to resume our rent payments as soon as reasonably possible, we simply cannot predict the extent or the duration of the current crisis,” CEO David Overton said in a letter. “We appreciate our landlordsunderstanding given the exigency of the current situation.”

A copy of the letter was obtained and first published by Eater Los Angeles. It was addressed “To Our Landlords.”

The company owns and operates 294 full-service restaurants. Cheesecake has not revealed how many have been closed. The others have discontinued dine-in service and limited their operations to takeout and delivery.

With April 1 a few days away, rent is emerging as a difficult financial hurdle for many restaurants to clear. The New York City Hospitality Alliance, a trade group representing the city’s restaurants, bars and nightclubs, is asking city and state officials to suspend the collection of rents for as long as restaurant dine-in service has been suspended by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed last night in the Senate originally included provisions for small businesses like restaurants to factor their rent needs into the amounts they could borrow from the Small Business Administration. But that provision was stripped out of the measure’s final version.

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