Hell's Kitchen says keeping restaurant closed is best for business while others push to reopen

As restaurants across Minnesota try to navigate uncharted territory and make plans for reopening, Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis will remain closed in an effort to save money and ensure that they can pay employees once it does reopen.

In a letter to the community, Hell's Kitchen Co-Founder Cynthia Gerdes wrote that the restaurant did get a SBA Paycheck Protection loan, "but rather than spend it on payroll by the end of June in order to get it 'forgiven,' our cash flow scenarios made us realize that instead, it's critical that we hang onto every penny as long as possible in order to afford paying people once we DO open. Basically, we need the longest runway we can to get through the next 12-15 months of anticipated losses. Even with all the amazing work our team has put into keeping our overhead low, our "burn rate" when completely shut down is still a staggering $41,000/month for rent, utilities, leases, licenses, insurance, and other fixed costs."

"While we support the Minnesota restaurants that feel they have no choice but to reopen immediately, we wholeheartedly agree that it’s in the best interest of our employees, our guests, our community and our industry to keep the gates of Hell completely closed," she wrote. 

"As restaurants across the country fight for their lives, cash will be everything for survival. Thus, our hardest realization this week was that our cash flow no longer allows us to pay the $18,000/month health insurance premiums. As a fierce supporter of workers' rights, it's hard to believe we're even having this discussion. We've asked our Employee Owners to hang in there through this incredibly painful time, and appreciate the heartfelt notes of support we've already received from understanding staffers." 

Gerdes wrote that as things settle down, Hell's Kitchen plans to start curbside pickup & delivery in early July, offering menu favorites plus "meal kits" such as the Badass Brunch and Jacked Up Bloody Mary options. 

The earliest the restaurant envisions opening to diners would be early September.