GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- BarFly Ventures, LLC ("BarFly" or "Company"), the parent company of HopCat, Stella's Lounge and Grand Rapids Brewing Co., today announced that it has begun to reopen certain of its restaurants in accordance with their states' reopening guidelines and safety measures. Effective June 13, all Michigan restaurants will be open to host dine-in guests with Lincoln, Nebraska and Indianapolis, Indiana following on June 22. The Company is taking extraordinary precautions to protect employees and guests with increased cleaning, sterilization and social distancing procedures, among many other steps taken to ensure the safety of guests and employees. Barfly's other restaurants will be opening in phases with dates to be announced soon.
"It's been a rough few months, but we're excited to welcome our team and local community members back into our restaurants," said Mark Sellers, founder of BarFly Ventures. "We're following all CDC guidelines and taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of our staff and guests."
In mid-March, Barfly temporarily closed all locations under federal and local government mandates, and as a proactive step to protect customers and employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Company also announced that it is pursuing a comprehensive financial restructuring aimed at reducing the Company's current debt which has become untenable because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to other reasons. The goal is to strengthen its balance sheet so Barfly is better positioned for long-term growth. To swiftly facilitate the restructuring and reduce the debt exacerbated by the closures of restaurants as mandated by the State of Michigan and other states in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company has filed voluntary petitions for relief under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the Western District of Michigan. The Company will operate in the ordinary course through this process and anticipates moving through the process swiftly.
"This action should have little to no impact on our day to day business operations, but will allow us to emerge as a financially stronger company and enable us to continue serving our guests, team members and other business partners for many years to come," Sellers said.
The Company expects the restructuring process to be seamless for guests, team members and vendors and intends to:
- Honor customer programs such as gift cards and HopCat loyalty rewards
- Pay employee wages and benefits in the ordinary course of business
- Pay vendors and suppliers in a timely fashion going forward
"As is the case with most restaurants, BarFly has faced a number of challenges in recent years, including increased industry competition and craft beer saturation," Sellers added. "However, we were meeting these challenges, and operationally the business was sound until the recent global pandemic pushed us into an unforeseen economic crisis and a 100% drop in revenue for almost three months. After an exhaustive examination of all options, we've determined that the Chapter 11 process is the best path forward to enable BarFly to focus on continued growth and transformation for the future."
Pachulski Stang, Ziehl & Jones LLP and Warner, Norcross + Judd are serving as legal advisors to the Company. Rock Creek Advisors is serving as financial advisor and Mastodon Ventures, Inc. is serving as investment banker.
About BarFly Ventures
BarFly Ventures is the parent company of HopCat, Stella's Lounge and Grand Rapids Brewing Co. Founded in 2008 with the opening of HopCat in Grand Rapids BarFly owns and operates restaurants throughout the Midwest.
Jennifer E. Mercer
Paladin for BarFly Ventures
SOURCE BarFly Ventures, LLC