Taylor Gourmet’s loyal customer base was disheartened to learn of the sudden decision to shut the doors at all of its locations in Washington, D.C., and Chicago on Friday, September 21.
Reports that followed up on the spur-of-the-moment news about the closures told of lines swelling up with regulars and locals who occasionally order from the once-booming chain. The fervor may have been inspiring to those who can recall a time not so long ago when business was doing well, but it’ll none-the-less prove to show too little too late for owner Casey Patten, who is said to be on the cusp of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after seeing a 40 percent drop in sales once word got out that he had taken a meeting with President Trump, according to the Washington Post.
Patten reportedly obliged the president’s request that he join a small business roundtable that was being hosted in the White House at the start of 2017. It was at that point that his bottom line began to drag, as calls for a boycott grew louder and louder. While some contend that the real reason for Taylor Gourmet’s downfall has more to do with the company expanding too fast, the price of real estate, lawsuits, and a whole host of other non-related factors leading to pinpoint the backlash over Patten’s meeting with Trump to be the moment the brand’s popularity began to trend downward.
Also POLL- Are you sad that @TaylorGourmet is going kaput (aside from folks losing jobs)?
— Barred in DC (@barredindc) September 21, 2018
In hindsight of Friday’s announcement, there indeed were signs that spoke to Patten’s struggle to stabilize the business. Less than two weeks ago headlines turned up to report on his efforts to downsize behind a two-pronged plan involving the renegotiation of leases at some sites, and a focus on scouting out locations that would allow Taylor Gourmet to operate in spaces with less square feet. It is now clear that it wasn’t a strategy that Patten could keep faith in.
While the reason behind Taylor Gourmet’s decline may be up for interpretation until Patten provides a formal explanation, what isn’t as subjective is the fact that the company recently lost a main investor in KarpReilly. KarpReilly helped boost the company’s status when he backed Patten with a $5.6 million investment in 2015. That all changed when the private equity firm pulled out earlier this year.
According to reports, the company’s management learned of Patten’s decision like the public did; without warning. Friday marked the last day for employees at the two Chicago franchises, and Sunday, September 23, is the date that each of the 17 D.C. locations are scheduled to close.