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National Restaurant Chains Face Grim Financial Future Due to COVID-19

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California Pizza Kitchen
California Pizza Kitchen

California Pizza Kitchen / Twitter

*Several of the largest restaurant companies in America are facing bankruptcy or struggling to pay debts amid COVID-19. 

Restaurants across the nation are struggling with the capacity restrictions on indoor dining. USA Today reports that Applebee’s and The Cheesecake Factory are on a newly updated list of national eateries facing a grim financial future. California Pizza Kitchen had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and plans to close some locations, according to the report. 

“The odds that the largest publicly traded U.S. restaurants will default fell in recent months as states allowed businesses closed by the coronavirus pandemic to reopen,” S&P says in the new report. “But the ongoing financial hits from the virus and uncertainty over whether laid-off consumers will receive expanded unemployment benefits continue to pressure the industry as more companies enter bankruptcy.”

READ MORE: Maryland Rape Suspect Kills Accuser After Jail Release Due to Coronavirus, Commits Suicide

Below is a breakdown of the six largest restaurant chains most likely to default, via USA Today.

Dave & Buster’s

This chain has a 16.1% chance of defaulting in the next year, according to S&P. It has the worst credit rating among the nation’s largest restaurant companies.

Outback Steakhouse

This chain faces a 13.2% chance of defaulting. But the company said it was moving in the right direction, with more than $500 million dollars in liquidity on hand.

“Across our U.S. portfolio, we experienced consistent weekly sales momentum throughout the second quarter as we adapted to this evolving environment. This improved sales recovery, coupled with disciplined cost management, enabled us to generate positive cash flow for the month of June,” the chain said in the statement.

Denny’s

Denny’s faces an 11.9% chance of defaulting. But CEO John Miller said in a July 28 statement that “we believe we are well-positioned to effectively navigate further impacts of the pandemic while preparing for eventual and future growth.”

The Cheesecake Factory

The company faces an 11.7% chance of defaulting on its debts, according to S&P.

Applebee’s and IHOP

Dine Brands Global, which owns both chains, has an 11.3% chance of defaulting.  In the month leading up to July 26, sales at Applebee’s locations fell 18.4%, compared with a year earlier, while sales at IHOP declined 37.6%.

BJ’s Restaurants

BJ’s Restaurants, known for its pizza and beer, has a 9.3% chance of defaulting.

Read the full report here

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Coronavirus

Alicia Keys Surprises Frontline Workers with New Music on ‘GMA’ (Watch)

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Alicia Keys on “Good Morning America” (Sept. 17, 2020) ABC

*On Thursday’s “Good Morning America” Alicia Keys thanked essential workers on the frontline of America’s ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with a trio of songs at a safe social distance.

During the event in New York City to honor nurses Charles Alfred and Chinyere Okoro, the 15-time Grammy winner sang a trio of songs, “Good Job” and “Love Looks Better” from her new album, “Alicia,” and her NYC anthem “Empire State of Mind.”

Keys, 39, also spoke about her upcoming album — her first since 2016 — as well as her new book, “More Myself,” which she considers a “companion piece” to the self-titled album, out Friday. She said on GMA, “The book takes you up to today and the music takes you from today on. It’s definitely about all sides of us as people.

“I have so many sides to myself — we all do — and I’ve been embracing that on this music, so you’re going to love it,” she added. “It’s going to take you to many places and many reflections.”

Watch her interview and performances below or view here at goodmorningamerica.com.

“Good Job” and “Empire State of Mind”

“Love Looks Better”

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Coronavirus

Anti-Masker Buffoonery: Target Dance Mob; South Dakota School Board; Dr. Phil Grills ‘Trader Joe’s Karen’ (Watch)

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*A flurry of anti-masker antics have gone viral in recent days, from the “Trader Joe’s Karen” who now tells Dr. Phil that she is not a Karen, to the man who had to be dragged out of a South Dakota school board meeting, to the “flash mob” dancing maskless through the aisles of a Florida Target.

The Target Tomfoolery involved a bunch of maskless demonstrators – some in MAGA gear – barreling through the store while hollering, “This is America!” and yelling at customers to take off their masks – as Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” blared from someone’s phone. According to HuffPost, the video, “apparently taken by someone shopping in the store, popped up on Reddit, and later on Twitter.”

Swinging West to South Dakota, police physically dragged this maskless man out of a school board meeting about the district’s mask mandate. According to the Mitchell Republic, the man has been identified as Reed Bender, a local resident who has spoken out against mask mandates in the past. He refused to wear a mask during the meeting, even after district officials offered him one. So Superintendent Joe Graves called the cops.

And then there’s this lady, who went viral in June after having a mask meltdown at her local Trader Joe’s in North Hollywood, Calif. She’s gone viral again after appearing on Dr. Phil to explain herself. “I am not a Karen,” she said on the show.

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#BlackLivesMatter

Ellesia Blaque of Philly Vs. Trump: Professor Basically Tells 45 to Shut Up and Let Her Finish (Watch)

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Ellesia Blaque asks President Trump about protecting pre-existing conditions in his attempt to repeal the ACA at ABC News’ Town Hall on Sept. 15, 2020 in Philadelphia

*He can interrupt people all he wants to without pushback because he’s the so-called POTUS, but not Ellesia Blaque of greater Philadelphia. Not last night.

The assistant professor of literature at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania was one of the few masked, socially-distant audience members in attendance at President’s Trump’s town hall moderated by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. Blaque told the president that she was born with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that qualifies as a pre-existing condition under the Affordable Care Act. She reminded Trump that “Obamacare” assured that folks with pre-existing conditions would not get charged more by insurers. But she’s still shelling out over $7,000 a year in copays due to her condition.

Her exchange with Trump began: “Mr. President, I was born with a disease called sarcoidosis, and from the day I was born, I was considered uninsurable. That disease started in my skin, moved to my eyes, into my optic nerves, and when I went to graduate school, into my brain.”

Blaque told Trump: “Should preexisting conditions, which ObamaCare brought to fruition, be removed…”

“No,” Trump began while she was still talking.

“Please stop and let me finish my question, sir. Should that be removed, within a 36 to 72-hour period, without my medication, I will be dead,” she continued. “And I want to know what it is you’re going to do to assure that people like me who work hard, we do everything we’re supposed to do, can stay insured. It’s not my fault that I was born with this disease. It’s not my fault that I’m a Black woman and in the medical community I’m minimized and not taken seriously.”

Watch Blaque’s entire moment below:

Trump also addressed questions about the country’s systemic racism and disproportionate police brutality against Black Americans. On both issues, he basically pivoted to defending police officers. Regarding his response to the pandemic, he denied downplaying the virus, as evidenced by his own words in the tapes provided by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward for his new Trump biography, “Rage.”

“I actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action,” Trump said. “My action was very strong.”

The lies just keep coming. Watch them exit his mouth below:

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