Casa Bonita: Life imitates Comedy Central

Drawing conclusions about this headline-making Colorado restaurant news

Sos Illustration

The announcement by “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker that they’re buying the iconic Casa Bonita restaurant–sometimes referenced on their show–was some much-needed positive news this summer for an industry that has been especially hard-hit during the pandemic.

A Colorado Restaurant Association survey of 195 operators conducted July 8 through August 9 was decidedly less cheerful.

Among the findings:

  • More than 25% of restaurants are considering permanent closure in the face of significant debt, increased overhead and a severe shortage of labor.
  • More than 67% of restaurants say they have accrued new, pandemic-related debt and owe an average of more than $180,000.
  • Since March 2020, restaurants report increasing wages by an average of 19%; more than 31% of restaurants have increased wages by 21 to 30%.
  • More than 23% of restaurants have added new benefits to their compensation packages.

The high-profile Casa Bonita purchase amid such industry challenges brings to mind a quip that’s almost “South Park”-worthy: How do you make $1 million in the restaurant business? Start with $2 million …

Categories: Industry Trends, Magazine Articles, Travel, Tourism & Recreation