The Bradford BBQ closing represents another local restaurant going down in the Lexington, Kentucky, area as the competition in the food business heats up. While the Bradford BBQ closing doesn’t mean it is shuttering for good, the many locally owned Kentucky restaurant closures have created an atmosphere of uncertainty among the remaining businesses. While the food industry is turning a profit in many areas, smaller “ma and pa” shops are trying to contend with trendy new openings and big chain restaurants gobbling up customers. The result has been a large amount of Lexington-based restaurant closures.
The problem, however, is multifaceted, with many business owners and analysts blaming a variety of factors. What isn’t complicated is that the spate of Lexington restaurants closing has hit many locally owned eateries, putting some out of work, while others have had to abandon the only industry they’ve ever known.
One of the most recent events that have sparked what some in local newspapers are calling “carnage” and a “bloodbath” is that dozens of new restaurants are opening, siphoning customers from old favorites and diverting their dollars towards the newer offerings. One local business owner said that as many as 30 to 60 new restaurants opened up within the span of months. That type of pressure on the existing restaurants is felt in their decline in sales, on the already razor-thin margins that the restaurant business is known for.
A prime example of these new offerings sucking up all the oxygen is seen in The Summit. An upscale $156.0-million space that has brought in two-dozen new restaurants alone over a five-month span.
Others are concerned that the low unemployment rate means that they have to keep offering higher and higher wages in order to attract workers.
Some restaurant operators have compared the situation to the housing bubble that led to the financial crisis nearly a decade ago. Others use factors like Wall Street’s fixation on growth pushing big chain stores to constantly open up new restaurants, which may boost overall sales but pushes down individual store sales, as other explanations for the Lexington, Kentucky, restaurant closures they’ve experienced.
Among some of the more prominent restaurants to close down are Chatham’s Bistro and Bar, Enoteca, The Julep Cup, and Wines on Vine—a list to which we can now add Bradford BBQ, although it does not plan to remain down for long.
Bradford BBQ to Close Lexington Restaurant, Moves to Lancaster, KY
Bradford BBQ’s closing is not exactly tied to the Lexington restaurant closures insofar that it is merely relocating, but it is still another local restaurant that is abandoning the city. Only, instead of heading towards a final closing, the restaurant is instead going to be occupying the Governor William Owsley House in Lancaster.
During the move, the owners are still going to be selling their wares via food truck.
The Bradford BBQ shutdown, therefore, is more a Bradford BBQ relocation instead. The business is looking to expand more towards weddings and other events. Local news reports that the owners are moving more so they can expand rather than due to the factors affecting the other local restaurants that have closed in recent months.
Lexington, KY Restaurants Closed in 2017
Some local business owners have compared the rash of Lexington restaurant shutdowns to the worst one in recent memory.
And the problem is not singular to Lexington. Year-over-year sales began dropping in 2016 and the trend has kept up, with the majority of restaurants registering sales growth in just four of the last 22 months, according to The National Restaurant Association figures.
The changeover is certainly real in Kentucky. Through the end of October, the city statistics reveal that about 90 restaurants either opened or changed hands, including fast food chains, according to certificates of occupancy. The number of certificates for 2017 is already above the total year’s worth in 2016.
This type of competition has led to more permanent shutdowns compared to the Bradford BBQ temp closing. “Chatham’s Bistro and Bar closing,” “The Wine on Vine closing,” “The Julep Cup closing,” and “Enoteca closing” would all yield similar search results if you looked into shutdowns that took place in October. Many of the restaurants cited increased competition and many of the reasons mentioned above as why business was unable to continue.
“Another Lexington restaurant is closing … but for different reasons,” Lexington Herald-Ledger, November 20, 2017.
“How do Lexington restaurants describe business these days? ‘Carnage’,” Lexington Herald-Ledger, November 10, 2017.
“As Lexington food scene grows, several local restaurants close in a month,” WKYT, November 2, 2017.
“Another locally owned restaurant closes, the fourth in a month,” Lexington Herald-Ledger, October 30, 2017.