Shame Shack, SBA Inside Scoop and Webinar News

Originally Published : April 20, 2020


Dear HL Clients,

Damn, that kitchen got hot in a hurry. Behold the power of the media and its ability to shed light on inequalities and smack those doing the wrong thing into doing the right thing.  And props to Danny  M. for doing just that.  He came, he saw, he conquered the PPP and then he gave it all back.  He does have an image to protect after all and it’s worth way more than a 10 million dollar grant but he manned up.  It was the right call on his part and kudos to him.  Any word from Ruth’s Chris or Potbelly? Has social media descended on them yet? 

PPP Update:

Papa, can you hear me?  Congress is on the verge of passing new legislation with regard to funding the PPP.  Have they been listening at all?  Will they amend the rules and allow restaurants to start the clock when they reopen?  Will they loosen the restrictions on how we can spend the money?  Can they restore our faith in them?  This would be the moment of redemption.  The early line is 5:1 against a fix.

Joey Regs says:

What an emotional rollercoaster this PPPiece of Shit loan process truly is, am I right? 

Hang in there, friends.  It’s been a rocky road thus far and it does promise to continue, but we can get through this together.  Hope is not lost for those of you who still have pending PPP applications. 

Look, the pot is currently empty, but all signs seem to be pointing to the fact that a replenishment is imminent.  So, this means that you haven’t been “rejected” or “denied” – you’ve just been told to wait a bit longer.  And frankly, that could actually be a good thing, right?  Remember, you’ve got eight weeks to spend, spend, spend, for the spent amount to be forgiven (legal disclaimer: provided you spend it correctly).  So the closer we get to reopening, the better for you.  Is it nerve-wracking to be in limbo like this? Oh hell yeah it is.  But it could work out OK, is all I’m saying.

Banks are starting to feel optimistic about the pot being replenished as well.  Chase, for one, drastically changed its messaging this weekend.  They went from (I’m paraphrasing) “Hey sorry, we’re out of cash. Hopefully we get more” to “introducing the new Chase Status Tracker – your current application is here, but it’s actively being worked on and advanced through our system, so when more money is available, you’ll be ready to receive it.”  We see this as a positive sign.

I spoke with a banker that I know at Chase earlier today.  He’s pretty high up the food chain and he said that all of their bankers are working seven days a week at this point, 12-15 hour days, feverishly approving applications.  They know they were caught flat-footed by phase 1, and couldn’t mobilize their company fast enough to really take care of their clients.  And it was embarrassing.  They vow redemption though, if that pot gets refilled. 

To paraphrase Mr. Chase:

“We could not get our act together that quickly-we’re too big of a company.  We were given virtually no notice, and were absolutely hammered by applications.  We couldn’t have realistically prepared appropriately.  Phase 2 will be a lot different.  We’re ready now.  And we can’t wait for the opportunity to crush it for our clients this time.  Anybody in queue, I feel good about getting approved, as long as the paperwork is good and checks out.”
  He went on to trash Bank of America a little too.  “Do you know anyone who got approved by BofA?  Probably not, because they weren’t ready AT ALL.  They put up their bullshit portal the day things opened.  But guess what?  They literally had no back-end fulfillment plan.  So to the outside world, it looked like they had their shit together, but in reality, it was all smoke and mirrors.  We didn’t want to do that.  We knew that this was literally people’s livelihoods, so we weren’t going to launch our platform until we knew we could actually process the info that came in.”

Fingers crossed that this pot gets replenished some time real soon.

Joey Regs out.

SAVE THE DATE:   Thursday, April 23 from 1:00-3:00.  Webinar of the year!  PEACE ON THE LOWER EAST: How landlords and tenants can survive by working together.  David will moderate a panel with a restaurant tenant and a landlord/broker where we will be discussing real world solutions to the issue of the century:  How the Hell Am I Going To Pay Rent?  We will discuss both the landlord and the tenant perspectives and we will put all the chips on the table to come up with unique and workable solutions to get us through to the post-pandemic world.  More info tomorrow.
Register here:

They’re Gone:  Nina Balducci and Sirio Maccioni.  Both food world first ballot hall-of- famers.  The original Balducci’s was just the greatest specialty food store in NYC and Sirio and Le Cirque made NYC the exciting and fabulous restaurant scene it is today.  We owe so much to both of them.

Good night and weird dreams,