Home Madrid Economy Stimulus loan allows Benu to expand its Korean take-out program

Stimulus loan allows Benu to expand its Korean take-out program

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When Corey Lee decided to launch a taste of his highly anticipated Korean restaurant, San Ho just won, a few weeks ago – in the midst of the pandemic – it wasn’t supposed to be a lucrative business. Exit the kitchen to Blessed, Lee’s three-Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant, preview dining was basically seen as a non-profit business, as Lee wanted to provide income for a handful of cooks. Moreover, he promised that 100 percent of the profits would be used to pay for the benefits of its employees on leave: health care, rent assistance and financial assistance for workers who are not entitled to unemployment – plus two meals a day for staff and their families.

Next, Lee was informed that Benu had been approved for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan – federal coronavirus relief loans intended to provide small businesses with an influx of cash, with the stipulation that to be forgiven, beneficiaries must spend 75 percent of the money on payroll. “For Benu, that means operating the San Ho Won takeout program as a real business instead of a small non-profit,” Lee wrote in an email to Eater SF.

In short, Benu is recruiting. Lee says he’s reinstated about 36 of his employees on leave, most of them cooking for San Ho Won. (A few other cooks prepare staff meals, which are cooked and distributed in another of Lee’s restaurants, In situ, which is currently closed to the public.)

For customers, not much will change. San Ho Won meals, which consist of around six or seven courses, will always be in the same multi-course format and will still cost around $ 48 per person. The main difference is that Benu now has the ability to serve Following meals – 200 of them every day, seven days a week. This is good news for customers who have tried snatching up meals over the past few weeks and found them exhausted.

Benu’s take-out operation still won’t make any money, Lee says, and those 200 meals a day may not provide enough take-out volume to support all of the staff he’s reinstated. In theory, says Lee, the restaurant should be able to break even – if they sell out every day, and if they end up receiving at least some loan forgiveness.

Regarding the PPP loan, Lee says he finally received it after applying for it four times between March 17 and early April, and there are still a lot of details on his terms that he doesn’t understand. perfectly, especially around forgiveness. He is not the only restaurateur to have found the to treat confusing. “How is the loan useful for a restaurant that is not open? Lee says – especially in a city like San Francisco, which comes from has extended its order for shelters in place until May 31. For now, however, he says it’s a good thing he can employ more people.

For lovers of Korean cuisine, the fact that San Ho Won takeout – which marries traditional Korean flavors with modern techniques, and has generally been well received – will be more widely available is good news.

The next set of meals, for next week, will be available for online purchase departure today May 1 at noon, underlined by a spring vegetable bibimbap: ramps, fern, cordyceps and pea leaves on a fried rice with sweet carrots. The meal will also include Korean beef meatballs and a 4-year-old fermented soy stew, as well as a few side dishes and a dalgona (Korean honeycomb) dessert with coffee and panna cotta.


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