Restaurants Need to Brace for Tough Times



By: Larry F. Harris, CEO
Food Management Partners, Inc.

Restaurants Need to Brace for Tough TimesWith the compression of legacy brands, spiraling labor costs and now the latest coronavirus fears, small to midsized restaurant concepts are feeling the squeeze more than ever.  As a result, the industry has seen many brands fold in the past few months.  The pain is not yet over.

But brands can retrench and rebuild—if they are willing to make the sacrifices necessary.

Food Management Partners (FMP) has long been an owner, franchisee and, on numerous occasions, has been the managing operator retained by outside companies to help salvage troubled brands. We then invest our knowledge, management expertise, and various resources towards making those brands more efficient, more profitable, and well-suited for growth and expansion.

In some instances, the situations are more dire than expected, and the damage too severe for an effective turnaround.  These severe cases call for immediate action to preserve any tangible value and save jobs that are important for the communities in which we operate. Unfortunately, this sometimes involves closing some restaurants so the overall brand can survive and hopefully thrive and grow in the future.??A good example is the Catalina Restaurant Group, which we acquired while it was dealing with severe financial and operational struggles.??In this case, some restaurants closed and yes, jobs were lost, but countless other jobs were saved by our devotion to people and demonstrated management expertise in dealing with worst-case scenarios.  We were able to help turn it around so that it could be positioned for the growth it is experiencing today.

Sadly, another brand we recently were brought in to help salvage, had an unimaginable employment situation that included a workforce comprised of nearly 75% undocumented workers.  Unfortunately, this predicament had been perpetuated for far too long for continued sustainability.

We urge chains and concepts feeling the cash flow squeeze to make the necessary changes NOW to live to fight another day.  Those who don’t know where to start nor have the inhouse resources to act quickly, should look to companies like FMP for help.

It is human nature to disparage the nature of something when one doesn’t possess all the facts that lead to unpopular decisions having to be made.  FMP has, at times, been tasked with finding a sustainable solution to sometimes seemingly insurmountable problems. In most cases, FMP’s unwavering commitment to people and operations have saved many jobs and restored financial viability to troubled companies.

No matter whom you chose, do so deliberately and make the tough choices now.

For more information about Food Management Partners, please visit www.foodmps.com.