Created: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 10:57:00 CST
Updated: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 10:58:16 CST
We're just days away from an announcement on the future of Taylor's Steakhouse. But, with another big change for another Hastings restaurant, it begs the question: are local restaurants struggling?
First it was OK Cafe, then the Garden Cafe, at first glance it looks like restaurants just can't stay open. But with a closer look, that might not be the case.
"They work on very very low margins. So they have to continue to work on ways to make sure they're profitable," said Tom Hastings, President of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce.
But just because the restaurants closed doesn't mean they weren't still making money. When the OK Cafe closed in June 2012, it wasn't because customers stopped enjoying the nostalgia. Rather, it was time for Pat Randolph to retire.
And then came the Garden Cafe's closing just 6 months later. Customers didn't stop dining, the Cafe just couldn't come to a lease agreement.
And now it's Taylor Steakhouse's turn for a change.
"They've been trying to sell it for a number of years, and I think he just found an opportunity where somebody was ready to buy it," said Hastings.
What the final decision was, we'll find out in the coming days. But Tom Hastings said local restaurants are, in fact, working hard and doing well.
Murphy's Wagon Wheel has been rolling along in downtown Hastings for more than 40 years and they continue to depend on their regular customers.
"They come in every day, they eat lunch every day or supper every day. They're always here and they always support us," said Jamison Murphy, of Murphy's Wagon Wheel.
But what might be key for local restuarants isn't the food, rather the drinks. Murphy's business is 50% bar and 50% food.
"I think it's pretty tough to make an evening work without having a bar in it," said Murphy.
But if a change in hands is headed Taylor's way, it might not be a bad thing for the competition.
"Sometimes change is good and maybe people just get tired of doing what they were doing," said Hastings.
"Will Taylor's hurt us for a while if they have an ownership change that are doing a nice job? Yes. But it's better to have more places, a few more places, where people can, if they decide to go out, wow, we've got five places we can go to. Who are we going to see tonight?" said Bob Murphy,
The Murphys did say it has been a slow month for them. April and September tend to be transition months where they see fewer diners.
Again, we have been told there will be a positive change for Taylors announced in the next couple of days.