Events return, but New York remains a ‘problem’



Photo courtesy Ark Restaurants

New York remains a “problem”, but many other parts of the country are starting to rebound.

That’s what Michael Weinstein, CEO of multi-concept operator Ark Restaurants, said while reporting the company’s second quarter results to analysts on Tuesday.

Ark, which operates more than 35 restaurants, bars and fast food outlets across the country, said that after a “very bad January and a very bad February,” he started to see an increase in income at places like Las Vegas, Alabama and Florida. , Weinstein said.

“New York is always a problem for us,” he said, noting that the theater district and many offices remain closed and tourism is still declining. “These volumes are seriously bad.”

The operator is starting to see a return to activity from some events, particularly in Washington, DC, Weinstein said.

“I think we will see a significant return in the volume of events when the restrictions are lifted,” he said.

Ark said revenue for the quarter ended April 3 was around $ 25.7 million, up from $ 34 million for the same period a year ago.

During the quarter, Ark canceled $ 4.1 million in paycheck protection program loans. Weinstein said he expects a total of $ 13 million in PPP loans to be canceled overall.

“The cash flow is very high at this point,” he said.

Ark’s growth strategy has changed in recent years, he said, with the company looking for one to two solid restaurants to buy each year.

“We’re more inclined to buy properties with cash flow than to build properties ourselves,” Weinstein said. “These are one-off restaurants where people retire or no longer want to continue their activities. If they have a positive cash flow, if they have a long lease, we can buy these properties at very attractive prices. It makes a lot more sense than building ourselves… We are not looking to buy 15 restaurants a year. If one or two good properties come up, we will buy them and feel very comfortable, we can absorb them without expanding our balance sheet.



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