The restaurant industry has changed at a frenetic pace over the past few years — and while securing financing may be difficult in current economic conditions, there are reasons for optimism. A report from American Banker earlier this year said that some of the challenges restaurants have had to face in the past few years are the kinds of tests that make them good risks for financing: “Many chains and franchises have recently posted some of their best years ever, with quick-service and fast-casual operations proving particularly resilient. The restaurants that have survived have also learned to operate more efficiently, in spite of staffing challenges.” There is also some innovation happening in terms of the deals that are available and for whom. Erik Hermann, partner and head of the investment group with CapitalSpring, told Restaurant Business recently that the firm may expand its investments to include “the ecosystem around the multi-unit foodservice business,” meaning that it could grow to include manufacturers, technology companies and business services that support restaurants. He also said his firm would be more flexible going forward in light of industry changes, such as margin pressures, and could help companies reset their financing. At a time when local economies need a boost, think outside of the box when it comes to your needs and where you can be flexible. As this report from Poster relates, there have been restaurants who have found funding (and even partial loan forgiveness) from nearby cities in exchange for creating jobs and keeping those positions open for a period of years. If your business has been able to navigate the challenges of the past few years, it may have access to unexpected opportunities for funding. At Restaurant Finance Monitor’s Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, which is coming up in November, there will be a session on securing financing in a post-Covid economy. Speakers will be weighing in on the deal structures now available for businesses who can demonstrate their strength and capabilities. Expect some innovation in this space.
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