The Cheesecake Factory has alerted its landlords across the country that the restaurant will be unable to make rent for the month of April due to a lack of business amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday, The Cheesecake Factory Chief Financial Officer Matthew Clark said: “In these unprecedented times, there are many factors that are changing on a daily basis given governmental regulations and landlord decisions to close properties. We have to take both into consideration in terms of understanding the nature of our rent obligations and with respect to managing our financial position.”
“We have very strong, longstanding relationships with our landlords. We are certain that with their partnership, we will be able to work together to weather this storm in the appropriate manner.”
The restaurant chain’s founder and CEO, David Overton, sent a letter to landlords last week asking for “patience” and “help,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by Eater.
“Unfortunately, I must let you know that The Cheesecake Factory and its affiliated restaurant concepts will not make any of their rent payments for the month of April 2020,” Overton wrote in the letter, which was dated March 18. “Please understand that we do not take this action or make this decision lightly, and while we hope to resume our rent payments as soon as reasonably possible, we simply cannot predict the extent or the duration of the current crisis.”
“We are continuing to evaluate the implications of this situation on our business and we realize the impact this action will have on our landlords. We appreciate our landlords’ understanding given the exigency of the current situation,” the letter continued.
Overton added that the Cheesecake factory is following the Centers for Disease Control’s “guidance,” as well as that of local health departments.
“We are closely monitoring developments in all the communities we serve, and we hope to resume normal operations as soon as reasonably possible,” the letter stated.
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According to Eater’s report, the restaurant has temporarily closed 27 of its locations, and announced on March 23 that it would be stalling the opening of new restaurants.
The restaurant has 39 locations in California alone, and employs 38,000 people across its 294 restaurants across the U.S.
As of March 15, Ohio, Illinois, California and Massachusetts issued orders and recommendations to close certain gathering places in an effort to encourage social distancing and combat the spread of the virus.
There are now at least 59,502 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, as testing becomes more readily available.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.