More than a year after the Canadian chain of restaurants in the Middle East converted its cash reserves into bitcoin, the owner said the move helped save business during the pandemic.
When tahini restaurant owners Ali, Omar Hamam and their cousin Ahmed decided to convert the company’s savings into Bitcoin (BTC) in August 2020, according to a report by the Canadian News Agency Toronto Star on Tuesday, because it offered “much better money savings” for an alternative, “the price was Crypto assets around $12,000. Ali Hamam reported that the company benefited from its first investment in cryptocurrency.
“We moved to the company’s balance sheet under the Bitcoin benchmark back in August 2020, and since then our initial investment has grown by more than 300 percent,” Hammam said. “It really did its job to protect us from inflation and we worked the way we planned.”
BTC price surged to an all-time high of more than $67,000 in November before dropping to $41,729 at press time. Despite the company’s 80% drop in sales in one week at the start of the pandemic, Hammam said investment in cryptocurrency allowed it to expand from three restaurants to nine at a time when many in the industry were facing financial difficulties. Increase this number to 25 by the end of the year.
“We have three to six months of working capital in cash and the rest goes to bitcoin,” Hammam said. “So when we have an expansion, we don’t have to sell our bitcoins to fund that expansion. We try to be conservative when we never have to sell our bitcoins and keep collecting our treasury.”
None of the Tahini locations in Ontario currently accept BTC or other cryptocurrencies for payments, but each does have a Bitcoin ATM that allows patrons to purchase tokens before, during, or after a meal. During the first investment – it remains unclear to what extent – Hammam indicated that the company would continue to use bitcoin as a reserve asset indefinitely if there was no “need for fiat”.
“We will continue to strive to provide the best food we can… and with Bitcoin, we also want to help people financially.”
Related: Restaurant Group Landry Offers Bitcoin Loyalty Program
While restaurants like Tahini do not appear to be a target for Canadian province regulators, it is always the case with local crypto companies. The Ontario Securities Commission has cracked down on cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the region, including Binance, OKEx, Bybit, KuCoin and Polo Digital Assets. On January 14, Bitfinex announced that it would close the accounts of Ontario customers who do not have platform credit, while many users will “not be able to access any services” from March 1.