Portland, Oregon–based Sustainable Restaurant Holdings (SRH), the parent of Bamboo Sushi and QuickFish, announced that it has filed for bankruptcy.
The company said it’s seeking to restructure the business to combat the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited operations and “significantly affected its ability to generate revenue.” The brand also began a sales process, which it expects to complete in 90 days.
“We are facing the same challenges as many other consumer-focused businesses, especially those in the restaurant industry,” said interim CEO Matthew Park 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. As a result, during the last several weeks we diligently explored all available options to address our financial situation and preserve the long-term viability of SRH. We determined that using the Chapter 11 process to restructure our business is the best path forward.”
The brand received a commitment of up to $1.9 million in financing led by the Bain Capital Double Impact fund. The funds, combined with SRH’s available cash, will help continue operations and meet obligations while the company pursues a sale.
SRH has about $4.1 million in unsecured debt.
SRH operated 10 locations with 480 employees in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, California, and Colorado. Because of the pandemic, the company has been reduced to three Bamboo Sushi locations in Portland that are offering takeout and delivery. There are 38 employees—35 at stores and three at the corporate level.
SRH intends to continue operating units in a limited capacity and hopes to rehire furloughed employees and resume full operations when mandates are lifted.
Before the pandemic, the company was performing well. Revenues reached $18.1 million in 2019, up 35 percent from the previous year.
But in late February and early March, the COVID-19 pandemic “severely disrupted” operations.
“The cessation of normal business operations has deprived the Debtors of vital cash flow, without which the Debtors are incapable of meeting their obligations in the ordinary course, including obligations to employees, landlords, vendors, suppliers, and other creditors and claimants,” the company said in a filing.
SRH hired BMO Capital Markets in March to seek investors or a sale of the business. When that option didn’t work, the company turned to bankruptcy. In May, SRH hired SSG Capital Advisors to continue the sale and marketing process through the bankruptcy.
SRH started with Bamboo Sushi in 2008 in Portland. The parent derives its name from an “environmentally conscious design” including reclaimed timber, low-flow water systems, and renewable resources. Bamboo Sushi identifies itself as the world’s first sustainable sushi restaurant.
The company joins a list of other restaurant brands that have turned to bankruptcy amid the pandemic, including FoodFirst Global Restaurants, parent of BRAVO Cucina Italiana and BRIO Tuscan Grille, and TooJay’s Deli. Souplantation parent Garden Fresh Restaurants closed all of its locations and is engaging in bankruptcy discussions. It was also reported that California Pizza Kitchen is looking to restructure its debt to avoid bankruptcy.