Decisive week for the fate of operations and the group that so far controls four international food service brands in Brazil – Starbucks, Subway, Eataly and Fridays. In the wake of the crisis that came to light last week and with a billion-dollar debt declared to the Court, SouthRock has already closed dozens of Starbucks coffee shops across the country, one of which was located in the domestic check-in area of Salgado Filho International Airport, in Porto Alegre. . General layoffs.
The operator filed a request for judicial recovery (RJ) last Tuesday, October 31, at the 1st Bankruptcy and Judicial Reorganization Court of São Paulo. On the list, there are 24 companies that manage the business and manage SouthRock. The company linked to the Subway brand, which became the operator in 2022, was not included in RJ. One reason could be the financial health of the snack chain, which is mostly in the hands of franchisees. The other brands have their own operations by the licensor.
The declared debt was R$1.8 billion. In the petition, the operator also exposed a fact that could undermine any attempt to save the business. The management of Starbucks, based in the United States, notified SouthRock and other companies that manage the coffee shops to terminate the license agreement to use the coffee shop brand. The statement was made even before RJ’s request entered bankruptcy court. SouthRock even asked the court to suspend the North American company’s measure, but the judge did not accept it.
The Court also did not respond to the request to open the RJ. Before deciding, an expert opinion was determined and more documents and a list of creditors were requested.
One criterion that may have been used to close the airport’s check-in unit may have been revenue, which would be the lowest among the three that existed in the terminal. In the Capital, there are still stores at BarraShoppingSul and Galeria Chaves, in the Historic Center. The other unit is at ParkShopping Canoas. Two others scheduled to open became uncertain. At the Praia de Belas Shopping, in the Capital, was expected this month, but the enterprise itself now says, in a note, that it does not comment on tenant issues. At the Villagio Caxias, in Serra, the installation had already been postponed for 2024, and management informs that it is awaiting the operator’s position.
Employees at one of the airport’s stores are apprehensive and monitoring developments in the case. The expectation is that there will be no further deactivations. According to them, the two open stores meet sales targets above the daily stipulations. SouthRock did not comment on the closure of coffee shops and says that, in its statement regarding RJ’s request, it had mentioned that “adjustments” would be made, including “the review of the number of operating stores, the opening calendar, alignments with suppliers and stakeholders, as well as its workforce”.