Muscle Maker reveals going concern doubts in public offering filing

Muscle Maker reveals going concern doubts in public offering filing

Muscle Maker Grill is looking for a salvage from investors.

The restaurant brand known for its healthy food filed for a “mini-IPO” Thursday, while also revealing there is substantial doubt about its ability to continue operations.

Muscle Maker, which is owned by American Restaurant Holdings, reported a net loss of $4.2 million in 2016.

“Our independent auditors issued an audit opinion with respect to our financial statements for the two years ended December 31, 2016 that indicated that there is a substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern,” it said in the filing.

An American Restaurant Holdings spokesperson wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Mini IPOs, formally known as Regulatory A offerings, allow smaller companies to go public without the help of Wall Street banks. In these IPOs, companies with less than $50 million in sales can market directly to all investors not just those of a certain worth.

Muscle Maker is looking to raise up to $19.9 million in the offering, which it will use to pay the costs of the offering, as well as execute its growth plan, it says in the filing.

It further states, “In order to continue operating, we may need to obtain additional financing, either through borrowings, private offerings, public offerings, or some type of business combination, such as a merger, or buyout, and there can be no assurance that we will be successful in such pursuits.”

It does not say which exchange it plans to list on, and notes it may not have sufficient liquidity to pay the costs of being listed.

Founded in 1995, Muscle Maker serves healthier versions of mainstream dishes — like grass-fed steak. The company has roughly 49 restaurants located in 10 states, 41 of which it franchises.

The restaurant industry has become increasingly challenging as an uptick in competitors have joined the fray and consumers increasingly prefer to save money by dining at home. Rita Restaurant, Logan’s Roadhouse and Cosi are among those that have recently filed for bankruptcy.

Muscle Maker notes in its filing the fact that the cost of starting a new location sometimes exceeds the sales it generates. Many of its leases cannot be cancelled and often have initial terms of between 5 and 10 years.

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