Taylor Gourmet, a once-hot restaurant chain that last year found itself at the center of the nation’s political divide, has closed all of its restaurants and reportedly plans to file for bankruptcy protection this week.
Local reports indicated that the company had closed all 19 locations by Sunday after KarpReilly, the private-equity group that owned the chain, pulled all of its support.
Representatives from KarpReilly did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.
Taylor Gourmet is a 10-year-old hoagie chain that has grown to be popular in the Washington, D.C., area, part of a group of upstart fast-casual chains in the district.
The company received $5.6 million from KarpReilly in 2015 when it had just nine units. The funding fueled the chain’s rapid expansion, giving it 17 in the D.C. area and another two in Chicago.
But the company ran into some trouble early last year after Casey Patten, one of the chain’s co-founders, attended a White House ceremony on small business and met with President Donald Trump. News of Patten’s appearance created something of a social media firestorm.
According to the Washingtonian, sales fell almost immediately and led to many of the chain’s problems.
“Our sales dropped 40% the next day,” the Washingtonian quoted a source as saying.
According to Technomic data, Taylor Gourmet sales grew more than 40% in 2017 as the chain expanded from 12 to 17 units. Average unit volumes grew 3%.
Reports indicated that the company was planning a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, which would mean the company is shutting down and selling off assets to pay creditors.
It would also be the third bankruptcy filing by a restaurant operator this month, following filings by Ruby’s Diner and Mike Isabella Concepts, and the fifth in the past six weeks, joining Noon Mediterranean and Real Mex Restaurants.