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Culture Restaurants The Katchup

6 Emotions That Come From Closing Down A Restaurant

Photo: Peter Pham

When we discovered a favorite restaurant of ours has closed down, the only major emotion we feel is disappointment that we’ll never be able to experience that food again. The shock hits us, it bums us out, but we soldier on. We’ve always wondered, however, what that spectrum of emotion could be on the other side of the coin, for restauranteurs who have had to make the heartbreaking decision to close down their stores.

So we asked.

Nathanial Nguyen was the owner of two highly-popular restaurants concepts located in Southern California: Jinny’s Pizzeria and Rooster Republic.

You may best know Jinny’s as the spot that crafted two viral creations: a spaghetti pizza and an eggs benedict pizza.

Rooster Republic was a Nashville Hot Chicken concept that came to Los Angeles’ open-air food market Smorgasburg before branching off to a brick-and-mortar location in Downtown Santa Ana, CA.

Photo: Peter Pham

Both restaurants inspired phenomenal dishes, and both broke customers’ hearts when they closed down.

So how could two such popular, viral, and tightly run concepts come to an end?

Nguyen stopped by the Foodbeast Katchup podcast and shared his experiences as a restaurant owner who had come to the difficult decision of closing down his restaurants.

If you haven’t already checked it out, Nguyen’s episode is arguably one of the most emotional yet.

We spoke to him after and Nguyen broke down the six feelings one goes through when shuttering the doors of a restaurant forever.


Pride

“We had a sense of accomplishment,” said Nguyen. “We were all really proud.”

Photo courtesy of Frances Tang

“We weren’t going out because we were a bad business,” he explained. “We had a lot of recognition, awards, rankings, and ratings. It felt really good to come out on top and while we were there we had a big impact and made our mark on the industry.”

Guilt

“I definitely felt guilty because it was a decision that affects not just us, but our team and our employees,” Nguyen shared. “It’s really hard to explain to someone what goes into the decision-making process of deciding to close a business.”

Nguyen felt a great sense of guilt because there were people who really bought into everything the restaurant wanted to do and achieve, and believed in his vision just as much as he did. They worked so hard to accomplish all of the things that make it possible so that he can think about a future for the concept and the business.

“I felt a lot of guilt about taking that away from them,” he shared. “Taking away all the dreams that we created together as a team.”

Sadness

“It was really hard to let my team go,” he told us. “I knew it was the best decision for us, but at the same time I felt like we shouldn’t have to close down.”

“For me, so much of my heart went into the business,” he shared. “It was really hard to close the restaurants. There was a lot of tears, everyone cried and hugged each other. We felt a lot of sadness.”

Embarrassment

“It was hard to tell everyone why we closed,” Nguyen said.

He told us, “When people hear that we closed the businesses, people can only think one of two ways and how difficult it was to communicate to everybody, what led us to that decisions.”

Photo: Peter Pham

“I think that’s why I wanted to do the podcast, I wanted to be able to tell the story and the experience as to why we did it,” he explained. “Ultimately, it was a very personal experience for me. The business aspect guided the decision. But ultimately it was a personal choice for me and I felt very embarrassed because everyone associated me with those restaurants as the head chef and owner. It was hard to create that new identity for myself.”

Relief

“Ultimately, I felt relief,” he admitted. “When everything finally closed, I felt like I could finally take a real deep breath again. Feel at ease, relaxed, and not stressed and anxious and nervous. A lot of the emotions that were associated with running the restaurants and owning the businesses weren’t there anymore.”

Happiness

“I felt a lot happier,” Nguyen concludes. “That’s hard to say because I was very happy running the businesses and doing that work. But I didn’t realize what parts of my happiness had been taken away from me or had been missing when I operated those businesses. To get those back after everything had closed really showed me what parts of happiness I had valued.”

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Fast Food News Now Trending

Starbucks To Close 8,000 Stores For Racial-Bias Training After The Events in Philly

Following the events of last week’s incident at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, Starbucks has announced that they will be closing all of their United States locations on May 29 for racial-bias training.

Last week, two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks because they were waiting for a friend and didn’t order anything. The store, however, was filled with white customers that also hadn’t ordered anything but weren’t arrested.

Philadelphia resident @missdepino posted this video on her Twitter page that quickly went viral:

Starbucks Coffee Company announced today in a statement that it will be closing down more than 8,000 company-owned locations in the US the afternoon of May 29 to hold a racial-bias education workshop designed to prevent discrimination in stores. The training will also be a part of the on-boarding process for new partners, moving forward.

The training is said to address implicit bias, prevent discrimination, promote conscious inclusion, and provide a safe environment for staff and customers.

“The company’s founding values are based on humanity and inclusion,” said executive chairman Howard Schultz. “We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer.

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Fast Food News Restaurants

KFC Shut Down 750 Locations In The UK Due To Severe Chicken Shortage

Photo: Betty Longbottom | Wikicommons

Sad news for fried chicken fans in the United Kingdom as Kentucky Fried Chicken announced the closure of 750 restaurants due to a lack of chicken. Put those calendars down, it’s not April 1st quite yet.

Business Insider reports that after a change in distributors resulted in a shortage of chicken for KFC, more than 80 percent of Kentucky Fried Chicken locations in Britain were forced to shut down.

Last week, the fried chicken chain changed their chicken deliverers from a company called Bidvest Group to DHL. Unfortunately, due to DHL’s one distribution depot (versus Bidvests’ multiple locations), they were unprepared to handle hundreds of orders across the country.

Of KFC’s 900 UK locations, 750 of them have closed.

Hopefully, the closures aren’t permanent. KFC has made an official statement claiming they’re currently “working on it.” Here’s what they tweeted to their hungry patrons.

The only unknown is how long it will take for them to solve this delivery problem.

Until they round up enough chickens to deep fry, KFC has posted a list of operating UK locations for fans licking their fingers hungry for the Colonel’s original recipe.

Meanwhile, in the US…

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News Restaurants

[UPDATE] California Burger Chain SLATER’S 50/50 Is Selling SIX Of Their Restaurant Locations, NOT Closing

slaters-5050-half-empty

UPDATE: According to a statement by Scott Slater, the owner of Slater’s 50/50, he will be selling his six restaurants to an independent operator, not closing. 

Slater’s 50/50, a popular customizable burger parlor, will be selling all of their six restaurant locations, reported the OC Register earlier today.

We spoke to Scott Slater, owner of the Slater’s restaurant chain, who said he was definitely not closing down his Orange County locations as was previously reported. Rather, he’s stepping down as president of Slater’s 50/50 to allow a new restauranteur to spearhead the burger-slinging chain’s future.

Nothing’s happened with the concept. It’s still Slater’s 50/50, Slater told us.

Initially, it looked like closures were happening with Slater’s due to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice which stated that the locations in Anaheim Hills, Huntington Beach, and San Diego would be permanently closing.

Slater assured that closures would not be happening, nor layoffs. Rather, the filing was made as a courtesy due to him selling restaurants to a new buyer.

slaters-burger-turducken

Slater’s, founded in Anaheim Hill in 2009, was popularized by their ground bacon and beef burgers known as their staple 50/50 patties. Also, patrons could customize their entrees however they liked with an overabundance of decedent ingredients and cheeses. Personally, we just threw extra anchovies on our burgers and slathered it with garlic aioli.

Slater’s Anaheim Hills location, the first spot that opened, will be the first to undergo renovations and improvements from the new buyer. Slater himself, while not president, will remain the face of the company.

We’ll still be getting our anchovy bacon burger sometime within the next week, regardless, all this burger talk has got our stomachs riled up.

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Restaurants

Chipotle Will Shut Down Every Restaurant, For A Few Hours

Chipotle-Stk

Last year, Chipotle had a string of extremely unfortunate cases where customers would get sick from eating at the fast-casual restaurants. Now, the company will be closing down ALL of its restaurants this February to address the recent health concerns and talk about food safety. But just for a few hours.

The Chicago Tribune reports that on Feb. 8, the restaurants will close their doors and meet to discuss a range of issues. This will involve all staff, says a spokesman for Chipotle.

Among the topics are food safety, the restaurant’s new role as well as any questions employees might have.

Since the outbreaks of both E. coli and the norovirus, stock has plunged and the restaurant is currently being investigated. Chipotle has also begun to double its giveaways to make up for the last couple of months.

Still no word on how everyone got E. coli though.

h/t The Chicago Tribune

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Restaurants

Tragedy Strikes Chipotle As An E. Coli Outbreak Force Closes 43 Restaurants

Chipotle-Stk

For those whose lives revolve around Chipotle, prepare for some grim news. Chipotle stores in the Washington and Oregon areas have been temporarily closed down due to an outbreak of E. Coli. CNN reports that at least 43 have been closed.

The fast casual Mexican food-inspired chain is known for their customizable menu items. Chipotle started the year off on a high note when they announced an end to their carnitas meat crisis.

Then, this happened.

Luckily, there have been no deaths from the reported infection cases. According to the Washington State Department of Health, seven people from Washington and one Oregon resident were hospitalized.

chipotle unwrapped

E. Coli, a bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans, is typically harmless. Some types of E. Coli, however, can lead to intestinal infections. Other symptoms include vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea and abdominal cramping.

A spokesman for Chipotle said that while the cases were linked to six restaurants in Seattle and Portland, the company shut down all 43 restaurants in the area out of an abundance of caution. Chipotle has since begun to work with the health departments to figure out the cause of the E. Coli outbreak.

Other food and beverage companies have also been linked to E. Coli earlier this year. They’ve also taken the necessary precautions to prevent consumers from getting sick.

Since the closures, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.’s shares have dipped 5 percent.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Fresh & Easy Is Closing 50 Stores, Here’s What We Know

Fresh-Easy

The Western states are saying goodbye to 50 Fresh & Easy locations, reports the LA Times. In a move that’s said to finance new development and growth, Fresh & Easy is shutting down 30 stores in Southern California and 20 more between Nevada and Arizona.

A spokesperson for the market chain told the Times that the 50 stores closing accounts for about 30 percent of the 167 Fresh & Easys currently operating.

The locations being sold apparently did not meet Fresh & Easy’s criteria for modern convenience, sources say. The stores that escaped the chopping block will be redesigned to meet more modern expectations.

In 2007 the company filed for bankruptcy due to many unprofitable years, shutting down around 50 stores as well.

A complete list of the recent stores set to close can be found here.

Photo Yelp