After declaring bankruptcy, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh announced it would open a brand new store in an airport—a risky move seeing as it’s a location that is still experiencing less foot traffic during the coronavirus pandemic (which also accounts for the chain’s severe financial losses this year).
The beloved chain, known for its Greek-inspired cuisine, has locations all across the country. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month due to monstrous financial setbacks. The Colorado-based, fast-casual restaurant suffered from financial hardship a bit more dramatically than other chains did during coronavirus, largely because of where the majority of its locations are situated: Primarily in malls, airports, and universities.
CEO James Park told Denver Business Journal that 48% percent of Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh stores are located in airports and universities, many of which never reopened after the initial shutdown in March. Luckily, all 12 of these locations are set to reopen by the end of August. Still, it was necessary for the chain to file for bankruptcy as nearly half of its locations were unable to bring in revenue over the past five months—coupled with the challenge of landlords not willing to lower rent.
Bankruptcy has not stopped the chain from looking forward though. In fact, Park has ambitious goals for the chain for the rest of the year and into 2021. He plans to open six new stores, one of which will be opening this week in concourse B at Denver International Airport. The chain, which debuted during the 2007 Recession, will also be seeking out more franchise partners to help it recover from the financial blows it already suffered this year.
“It’s no doubt a humbling experience. But I stand convicted in the brand. And with the combination of our partners and our pipeline, we truly believe Garbanzo is positioned to come out on top,” Park said in an interview with Denver Business Journal. “This is not the end. This is a new beginning.”
The new location is the first Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh to offer breakfast options, including Greek yogurt parfaits, build-your-own breakfast bowls, and even a line of healthy grab-and-go foods like hummus snacks and Greek salads called “Frequent Flyers.” While an airport is a nontraditional place to have a restaurant, the vice president of marketing for the chain, Devin Handler, described the new-and-improved development strategy as an opportunity to increase travelers’ access to healthier food options in the airport—an environment that’s typically filled with pre-packaged, processed items.
For more, check out 6 Beloved Restaurant Chains That Are in Major Trouble Right Now.
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