More than a year after a Canada-based Middle Eastern restaurant chain converted its fiat cash reserves to Bitcoin, the owner has reported that this decision helped save the company during the pandemic.
According to a Tuesday report from Canadian news outlet Toronto Star, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) was around $12,000 in August 2020 when Tahini restaurant owners Aly and Omar Hamam and their cousin Ahmed decided to convert the company savings in crypto-asset because it offered “a much better alternative to cash savings”. Aly Hamam said the company benefited from the initial investment in crypto.
“We transitioned to the company’s balance sheet on a Bitcoin standard in August 2020, and since then we have increased our initial investment by more than 300%,” Hamam said. “It really did its job of protecting us against inflation and it worked as we expected.”
The price of BTC hit an all-time high of over $67,000 in November 2021, since falling to $41,729 at press time. Although the company’s sales fell 80% in a week at the start of the pandemic, Hamam said the crypto investment allowed them to grow from three restaurants to nine at a time when many players in the industry are facing financial difficulties, and they plan to increase that number to 25 by the end of the year.
“We keep working capital for about three to six months in cash, and then the rest is fully invested in Bitcoin,” Hamam said. “So whenever we have an expansion, we don’t have to sell our Bitcoin to fund that expansion. We try to operate in a conservative way, where we never have to sell our Bitcoin and we just keep accumulating on our cash.
#Bitcoins it’s hope for businesses big and small
— Tahinis Restaurants (@TheRealTahinis) January 19, 2022
None of Tahini’s locations in Ontario currently accept BTC or other cryptocurrencies for payments, but they each house a Bitcoin ATM, allowing customers to purchase tokens before, during or after meals. At the time of the initial investment – the amount of which is still unclear – Hamam hinted that the company would continue to use Bitcoin as a reserve asset indefinitely if there was not “a need for fiat”. In Tuesday’s Toronto Star article, he said:
“We will continue to strive to make the best food possible…and with Bitcoin we also want to help people financially.”
Related: Landry’s Restaurant Group Launches Bitcoin Loyalty Program
While restaurants like Tahini don’t appear to be a target for regulators in the Canadian province, it’s not always the same story with local crypto firms. The Ontario Securities Commission has cracked down on crypto exchanges operating in the region, including Binance, OKX, Bybit, KuCoin, and Polo Digital Assets. On January 14, Bitfinex announced that it would close the accounts of Ontario-based customers who have no balance on the platform, while many users will “no longer have access to any services” starting March 1.