November 6, 2018
Damn you Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. ($CMG).
It’s been a rough several months for Mexican restaurants. Over the summer, Tennenbaum Capital and Z Capital-owned RM Holdco LLC (Real Mex) filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware and pursued a sale of its business. Now, Texas-based, TPG-owned Taco Bueno Restaurants, Inc., a Tex-Mex quick service restaurant (“QSR”) with 140 owned and 29 franchised locations, has filed a prepackaged bankruptcy that will convey ownership to Taco Supremo LLC, an affiliate of Sun Holdings Inc., which bought-out the debtors’ initial lenders in October. Taco Supremo subsequently signed a restructuring support agreement memorializing its intent to effectuate a debt-for-equity swap and provide the debtors with a DIP credit facility.
So, why is all of this necessary? The company noted:
…while Taco Bueno possesses a traditional brand with a loyal customer base and the potential for future growth under the leadership of its new management team, Taco Bueno’s existing capital structure is unsustainable and its financial performance fell significantly due to, among other things, historical mismatches between price and product value, a lack of product innovation, and deferred maintenance capital investment. In addition, competition in the Mexican food industry – including the rise in popularity of tacos at both QSRs and other types of restaurants – increased substantially in recent years, causing certain Taco Bueno stores to experience stagnant or reduced customer traffic and sales. Moreover, while Taco Bueno recently launched a process to close underperforming stores to better focus on core markets and high-value stores, Taco Bueno continues to suffer from a number of underperforming restaurants. Accordingly, Taco Bueno needs to continue to restructure its lease footprint and renegotiate existing leases to optimize profitability.
Even the “Buenoheads” — yes, that’s actually a thing, apparently — couldn’t save this thing from bankruptcy. The debtors’ EBITDA fell to approximately $17.2 million in 2017 with a projected EBITDA of approximately $5.9 million for 2018, compared to approximately $33 million in 2016 EBITDA and approximately $31 million in 2015 EBITDA. Of course, the $130mm of debt doesn’t help either.
Consequently, to salvage liquidity and allow its bankers to conduct a process, the debtors closed 20 locations in the last year (and are in the midst of negotiations with Spirit Realty Capital Inc. ($SRC), U.S Realty Capital, and Kamin Realty Co., the landlords of over 50% of the debtors’ leases). The management team has turned over and the company attempted a prepetition sale process. That process culminated in the above-noted RSA-based transaction that will attempt to flush the company in and out of bankruptcy court by the middle of December.
Jurisdiction: N.D. of Texas
Capital Structure: $130.9mm debt
Legal: Vinson & Elkins (David Meyer, Jessica Peet, Paul Heath, Garrick Smith, Matthew Pyeatt, Andrew Geppert)
CRO/Financial Advisor: Berkeley Research Group LLC (Haywood Miller)
Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. (Adam Dunayer)
Real Estate Advisor: Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc.
Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
Other Parties in Interest:
Initial Lender: Bank of America NA
Sponsor: TPG Growth III Management LLC