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San Francisco restaurants forced to close down for good due to pandemic

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Bars and restaurants across San Francisco are closing their doors for good with the coronavirus and costs to operate a business in the city, some business owners say they can’t keep up.

KRON4 spoke to one owner who was forced to close and file for bankruptcy.

“It’s devastating because I’ve spent my entire life building this business and getting to the place to be an owner and you know worked really hard my entire life. Did everything right. Paid my bills on time, always paid my rent on time, always took care of my guests and employees and to go from that position to the position I’m in now is kind of unbelievable,” Gabriel Bryant said. 

Gabriel Bryant, owner of Archive Bar & Kitchen, recently filed for bankruptcy.

He closed because of the shelter in place order and said take out wouldn’t generate enough sales to stay open.

“It was kind of a perfect storm. I went from selling the restaurant, transferring the restaurant to a great caring group to having to file bankruptcy within a couple months,” Bryant said. 

A neighboring business was supposed to buy his restaurant last month but they have since pulled out of the deal because of the financial burdens of the coronavirus.

Bryant looked at all other options, like loans and financial aid to stay afloat but says it wouldn’t be enough to save his business, something he says is now common across the industry.

“Done all the numbers. I work with people and consulting groups and they are going between like 30, even 50% of restaurants having to close in the next 3 or 4 months,” Bryant said. 

Bryant says small businesses and restaurants in the city were already struggling to make margins before the pandemic.

Now the coronavirus is the breaking point for many.

“This has kind of been bubbling up for a while, the restaurant industry in general has been more and more difficult. What I’ve noticed especially over the last couple of years is just everything going up from minimum wage to rents to just the cost of goods, everything just kind of ticking up, ticking up and those margins getting shaved point by point by point and then this is just kind of the nail in the coffin,” Bryant said. 

Restaurants like Ristorante Franchino in North Beach, which has been around for three decades, are no exception.

They shut down when the shelter in place order went into effect because the owners couldn’t imagine transforming into a take out spot. 

With the pandemic and high operating costs, the family says it wasn’t feasible to continue once their lease runs up later this year.

“Without serious help from local, state and federal agencies, we’re in for a really bad time,” Bryant said.

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