An Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar near New York City’s Times Square owes $7 million in back rent, dating to June 2019, and a judge has ordered its eviction from the 42nd Street location, according to news reports.
Crain’s New York on Monday cited court filings last week that the casual-dining franchisee, Harrison, N.Y.-based Apple-Metro Inc., had failed to reach an agreement with the 42nd Street landlord, Madison International Realty.
The franchisee blamed its failure to pay rent and other expenses on “cash flow issues” worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, reports said.
The restaurant had closed during the pandemic, which was declared in March 2020, and reopened in June 2021. In October 2021, Madison International Realty terminated Applebee’s Times Square's lease, which was set to expire in 2025, Crains reported.
A New York State Supreme Court judge also ruled last week that Apple-Metro must pay its landlord back for unpaid rent and expenses dating to June 2019.
“Lawyers for the landlord claimed in court proceedings that the two parties tried to negotiate a settlement that would allow Applebee's to stay in the 11,000-square-foot space, but none was reached,” according to one news report.
The company said it received $3 million in forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans, but that was to help the restaurant's 80 employees during the pandemic closures.
“Sales have been down 75% since the start of the pandemic, when compared to the same two-year period prior to the pandemic, Roy Raeburn, the co-founder of Apple-Metro, wrote in an April affidavit,” the report said. Since the restaurant reopened in June 2021, Raeburn noted sales were down 23% compared to the same 10-month period before the pandemic.
The attached Hilton Times Square hotel, which provided a source of customers through a special door, was closed in September 2020. The 478-room hotel was sold in June and expects to reopen in November.
Apple-Metro franchises more than 30 Applebee’s casual-dining units in the New York area. Applebee's is a division of Glendale, Calif.-based Dine Brands Global Inc.
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