This year has been annus horribilus for restaurant businesses—particularly, a year of great misfortune for employees of the restaurant industry. Hundreds have lost their jobs in an industry-wide downtrend. Phoenix restaurant closures have notably caught our attention after we heard of two prominent Phoenix restaurants closing this week—Z’Tejas and Alice Cooper’stown.
The two restaurant businesses had decades-long history in Phoenix, Arizona, before they decided to permanently shutter their doors to customers this week. Apparently, restaurant sales were outpaced by costs, making it unprofitable to keep operations going.
Three Z’Tejas Restaurants Closing in and Around Phoenix
Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill is closing three of its five restaurants in and around Phoenix. All three of the Phoenix restaurants closing are located in popular dining hubs of the Valley. Yet, the company has been finding it hard to attract customers at these locations.
According to Z’Tejas, all three of the restaurants were unprofitable. The closures underscore Z’Tejas’ financial woes, which began two years ago when it had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The restaurant chain was later acquired by an Austin, Texas-based investment firm, which has been working to turn around its fate, but to no avail.
Z’Tejas is still keeping two locations open in the Phoenix metro area, which means the restaurant chain is not going fully out of business—yet. However, the significant downsizing indicates that good days of sales growth, which drove its expansion, are now over.
The company management says that following the closures, the company will turn its focus towards the remaining branches. The effort will include improving its menu and enhancing customer experience to drive and retain loyal traffic.
Alice Cooper’stown Shuts Down Restaurants After 18 Years
Just as Z’Tejas announced restaurant closures, another famous restaurant in downtown Phoenix also closed its doors for good. Alice Cooper’stown—the popular restaurant and bar owned by rockstar Alice Cooper of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame—has closed after two decades of strong business.
The restaurant has also taken down its social media accounts as well as its web site, following the announcement of the closure.
The restaurant-cum-sports bar, which was decorated with sports memorabilia all over, was a popular hangout place for sports enthusiasts on game nights. At other times, lovers of rock music thronged the restaurant.
Yet, traffic began to drop as hipper food joints sprang up in the downtown area. Meanwhile, loyal visitors of the restaurant haven’t been generating enough business for the restaurant to keep it up and running.
It’s true that Arizona has significant demand for Mexican-style southwestern cuisine, the kind served by Alice Cooper’stown. However, the restaurant industry is one industry rife with competition. Far too many restaurants offer nearly identical menus, making it difficult for them to monopolize their target market.
As Peter Thiel of PayPal fame aptly says, competition is for the losers and no industry produces more losers than the restaurant industry.
Many Phoenix Restaurants Closing in 2017 Due to Shifting Tastes
The closures of these restaurants follow an industry-wide slowdown in restaurant sales. Consumer tastes are shifting and the younger generation is preferring cheap grab-and-go meals over expensive dine-ins. Likewise, Instagram-worthy food is becoming more popular with American Millennials. Traditional restaurants lacking innovation in food are beginning to lose the “avocado-toast” generation.
As a result, we’ve seen a number of restaurants going out of business this year. One of the largest restaurant chains, Ignite Restaurant Group, went bankrupt earlier this year. The owner of famous restaurant chain Joe’s Crab Shack filed for bankruptcy and announced dozens of store closures and hundreds of layoffs.
Likewise, hundreds more lost their jobs as owner of IHOP and Applebee’s restaurants announced up to 165 restaurant closures. Similarly, we’ve followed some prominent local Phoenix restaurants closing this year.
Z’Tejas and Alice Cooper’stown are only two of the notable restaurants that are closing in Phoenix in 2017. Other popular Phoenix restaurants closing this year include Vintage 95 Wine Lounge, Tom’s Tavern, Riazzi’s Italian Garden, Stingray Sushi, and Posh Restaurant.
This list is by no means exhaustive. The way the restaurant industry is faring, we are bent to speculate that we’ll be hearing of more popular Phoenix restaurants closing in 2017.
“Z’Tejas restaurant closes three locations around Phoenix,” azcentral.com , October 23, 2017.
“Alice Cooper’stown restaurant is closed after 18 years in downtown Phoenix,” azcentral.com , October 23, 2017.
“8 most shocking restaurant closings of 2017 in Phoenix, so far,” azcentral.com , August 28, 2017.