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Creditor protection extended for B.C.'s Joseph Richard Hospitality Group

The Joseph Richard Group, which owns eateries in Vancouver, Surrey, Langley, Port Moody and Abbotsford, is restructuring its business
Ryan Moreno, co-founder and CEO of Joseph Richard Hospitality Group | Submitted

The Buck & Ear, the Steveston Cafe and Hotel as well as the liquor store in the same Richmond, B.C., building have gotten a reprieve from their creditors to the end of November.

The Joseph Richard Hospitality Group (JRG), which owns controlling shares in the Steveston Cafe and Hotel, the Steveston Hotel Liquor Store and the Buck & Ear, filed for creditor protection back in July.

JRG also owns controlling shares in JRG Foodhall (Vancouver) Ltd., the company behind the upcoming food hall in the redeveloped Canada Post building on Georgia Street, as well as other Lower Mainland eateries.

It started the proceedings to buy time to restructure the business.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge initially ordered a stay of proceedings for any actions, suits or proceedings until July 27 but later extended it until Nov. 30 by a court order dated Sept. 28.

This means no creditors are allowed to start any collection proceedings, claims and court actions against JRG for any amounts owed before July 17, unless they obtain permission from the court.

JRG may be granted further extensions as long as they work in good faith toward restructuring.

A court order issued in August also gave it permission to borrow no more than $500,000 from Canadian Western Bank to finance the business.

As of July, JRG owed around $34.4 million to Canadian Western Bank, around $2.3 million to the Bank of Montreal and owed around $600,000 in Canadian Business Assistance loans.

Its businesses also owed the Canadian Revenue Agency around $4.7 million in source deductions, $24,700 in income tax, $440,000 in GST and $912,000 in PST.

It credits its financial difficulties to “significant borrowings” it took on to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Ernst & Young, the monitor of the proceedings.

Industry challenges, including wage increases and labour shortages, supply chain issues, increased food costs, lease rate interests and high interest rates, also contributed to JRG’s difficulties.

“While JRG has profitable locations, current cash flows are not sufficient to repay all of the debt incurred during the COVID-19 period,” said Ernst & Young.

According to Ernst & Young’s latest report issued in September, JRG has presented a restructuring plan concept and is in communication with the Canadian Western Bank, its primary secured creditor.

Other existing Lower Mainland establishments controlled by the Joseph Richard Group include:

  • The Henry (Surrey)
  • S+L Kitchen & Bar (Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey)
  • Livelyhood (Port Moody)
  • Oak & Thorne (Langley)
  • Whiskey Charlie (Pitt Meadows)
  • Blank Canvas Catering (Lower Mainland)
  • Tavern on the Green (Abbotsford)
  • Hillside Event Space (Abbotsford)
  • The Italian Osteria & Cheesebar (Langley)
  • Townhall (Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Maple Ridge, Langley)
  • Clover Station Liquor Store (Surrey)
  • Glass House Estates Winery (Langley)
  • Queen’s Liquor Store (New Westminster)

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