COVID-19 and the Service Industry—BarFly (Hopcat) Files for Chapter 11

June 4, 2020

Potentially more than any other sector, the food and beverage industry has been devastated by the social, physical, and economic side effects of the spread of COVID-19.  For roughly three months, restaurants and bars, which are dependent upon in-person service, were effectively precluded from servicing their clientele, resulting in massive declines in revenue and, for many, economic disaster.

One need not look further than BarFly Ventures, LLC (“BarFly”), to see the drastic impact that COVID-19 has caused on the service industry.  BarFly is the parent company of several Grand Rapids culinary and entertainment staples, including Hopcat, Stella’s Lounge, and Grand Rapids Brewing Co.  Unable to sustain the recent economic downturn, BarFly, and its some 25 subsidiaries, filed voluntary bankruptcy petitions on June 3, 2020 seeking reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.  In a press release, the Company stated that, through bankruptcy, it was “pursuing a comprehensive financial restructuring aimed at reducing the Company’s current debt which has become untenable because of the COVID-19 pandemic[.]”  As permitted by the Bankruptcy Code, the Company plans operate in the ordinary course of business as soon as it can open its doors.

BarFly is not the first, nor will it be the last, service-industry company to seek protection under the Bankruptcy Code.  Indeed, experts are predicting surge in business bankruptcy filings in the coming months.  Fortunately, the Bankruptcy Code—and specifically Chapter 11—is organized to provide means of reorganization for struggling businesses while also according protections for creditors.

If you or your business needs assistance navigating a bankruptcy filing, whether it be on the creditor or debtor side, our firm is here to help.  The attorneys at Chase Bylenga Hulst, PLLC, are highly experienced in bankruptcy law and can help guide you along each step of the way.  If you are the principal of a struggling service-industry business, Chase Bylenga Hulst, PLLC, can help you work with creditors, consolidate debts, and pursue relief under the Bankruptcy Code.  Alternatively, if you find that a customer of your business has filed for bankruptcy, we offer reliable creditor services to protect your rights and maximize your return.

Our clients often tell us, “I wish I had called you a year ago.”  Don’t wait until it is too late—contact us today at 616.608.3061 or  through our websites contact page for a FREE consultation.