Vegan fast-casual By Chloe, embroiled in legal controversy and a bankruptcy, now has a new name and fresh brand image.
The chain is now called Beatnic, which is in reference to the flagship store in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Cate Mark Meyers, president of the restaurant, told Fortune that Beatnic captures the brand’s “creative, and inclusive values—which were at the core of the Beatnik movement of the 1950s and 1960s—while also giving a nice nod to our original Bleecker Street location in the Village.” Beatniks were individuals who stressed “artistic self-expression and the rejection of the mores of conventional society,” according to Merriam-Webster.
“2021 is about letting the past go—and when your name no longer fits, you toss it too,” the new website reads. “To find our truth, we went back to our roots: NYC’s Greenwich Village, and the free, fun, you-be-you all-welcoming culture that thrives there. So call us Beatnic now. Beneath it all, we’re still the same us, cooking up that 100% crazy delicious vegan food that makes you want to shout, sing, dance, and order seconds. See you around.”
A new logo was developed by design agency Pearlfisher. Fortune reported that new packaging, signage, and digital platforms will start this month. The rollout is scheduled to finish by the end of September.
After opening in July 2015, By Chloe grew in popularity and expanded to 14 stores in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Providence, Rhode Island, with construction plans in the initial stages for two additional restaurants. The company also issues licenses for third parties to operate stores in London and Toronto.
COVID interrupted those growth plans and forced the chain to furlough or lay off more than half of its workforce. BC Hospitality, parent of the chain, filed bankruptcy in December—a time when monthly revenue dropped 67 percent since February. Meanwhile BC Hospitality has been in an ongoing legal battle with its namesake Chef Chloe Coscarelli over her rights to ownership.
During the bankruptcy process, BC Hospitality selected a consortium group as the stalking horse bidder. Under the agreement, the group wanted to acquire 100 percent equity in By Chloe in exchange for a $3.25 million credit bid and assumption of up to $150,000 in ongoing claims from creditors.
However, that proposal was terminated after a judge ruled BC Hospitality wasn’t allowed to sell the “By Chloe” trademark without permission from Coscarelli. In a new agreement, the investor group, including Sisban Foods and Kitchen Fund, agreed to purchase the assets for $333,000, plus the assumption of liabilities. As part of the deal, the buyers were given a limited purpose license to use the name for six months before having to remove it from “restaurants, supplies, digital media, and all other assets.”
The chain’s footprint has reduced to 10 stores across New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, but Mark Meyers told Fortune that the chain is working on an expansion strategy.
“We have ambitious growth plans; we did not go through a restructuring and rebranding process to maintain our current footprint,” Meyers explained to the media outlet. “As soon as we complete the rebranding, we will reinitiate our expansion plans. We’ll look to fill in key gaps in New York City while also bringing the concept to another domestic city to prove its viability outside of our primary market.”