Grill Concepts, parent of The Daily Grill, Public School, and The Grill on the Alley, filed for bankruptcy in late April after COVID “devastated” the group’s retail dining operations.
The company operates 14 restaurants, including seven Daily Grill and six Public School locations and one Grill on the Alley restaurant based in San Jose. It manages three locations through agreements with various hotels, as well.
There are two other Grill on the Alley stores in Beverly Hills and Westlake Village, California, but those were purchased by BH White Corp. two years ago and are still open. A source told The Hollywood Reporter that those stores are “booming” at 50 percent capacity, and that they expect to perform even better once California reopens its economy on June 15.
Grill Concepts permanently shuttered 14 restaurants and is planning to reopen certain temporarily closed stores as market conditions improve, according to the plan of reorganization.
The parent said it implemented “drastic” cost-cutting measures to safeguard and maintain business operations. It’s been a difficult task, especially since restaurants have been prevented from operating at fully capacity due to governmental restrictions, the filing states.
“As a result of the financial devastation wrought by the pandemic and the associated government restrictions on dine-in service, the Debtors have been unable to generate sufficient cash flows to cover their operating expenses, including primarily lease obligations and tax liabilities, and as a result, they have amassed unprecedented liabilities that cannot be sustained,” court documents state.
Grill Concepts’ struggles reportedly started before COVID arrived. Charlie Schwieger, a senior associate with the property owner of the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, California, told Bethesda Beat, “Their CEO did have a conversation with us, because we wanted them to put some more money into that space,” he said. “And he said, ‘Hey, look. We really don’t have the capital to do that.’ He kind of mentioned that Chapter 11 was a consideration. And then I think once COVID hit, that was the rather large straw, if you will, that broke the camel’s back.”
The company has suffered greatly from empty offices. The Santa Monica location, which permanently shut down, was close to the headquarters of HBO, Hulu, Universal Music Publishing Group, Yahoo, and other top companies, the Hollywood Reporter said. But surrounding offices aren’t yet filled with workers.
The company listed $6.9 million in total assets and $40.2 million in total liabilities.
The restaurant group began in the 1980s when Bob Spivak, Michael Weinstock, and Dick Shapiro debuted Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills. The brand was modeled after the “great grills of New York and San Francisco by offering first-rate cuisine, attentive service, and a familiar, dignified atmosphere,” according to Spivak’s bio on Cal Poly Poma University’s website.