TAKEAWAYS (Restaurants)

Per Jonathan Maze of Restaurant News, this is the latest and greatest restaurant investment thesis: "[p]roblems in other consumer sectors are worse." So, yeah, people are clamoring to invest in restaurants, it seems, because it REALLY SUCKS MORE elsewhere. We love this, "The contrast between the restaurant industry deal flow and industry traffic was not lost on many experts. Same-store traffic has fallen 27 of the past 29 months, according to the monthly restaurant index MillerPulse." But, whatevs. Let's compete with a bazillion others, price inflate, and hope and pray we can find some other sucker on the backend - provided, of course, the macroeconomic environment affords opportunity for a "backend." Surefire strategy. Those takeaways emanated out of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas, which we had neither the time nor the funds to attend. And so we outsourced. We asked Navin Nagrani, Executive Vice President at Hilco Real Estate, for his thoughts on the conference considering he sat on a panel there. Here's what he reported back: 

  • "More lenders and private equity groups than ever. Most folks are hungry to do deals."
  • "Definite stress in the casual dining segment."
  • "Lots of chatter about fast casual being the next wave of distress."
  • "Usual conjecture on [A]mazon."
  • "Saw more activists attend this conference than before."