Shoney’s closes again … this time maybe for good

Shoney’s in Dublin is closed again … and this time it may be for good.

News of its closing broke this week on Facebook, and while early reports said the restaurant was gone for good, its owners say they still hope to re-open in the future.

“Hopefully it is only temporary again,” stated Susan D. Spencer of Young & Associates, owners of the Shoney’s and Bojangles restaurants between Dublin and Bristol.

“We simply had to make some difficult choices because of low sales, and we have closed two (Shoney’s) locations, the one in Bristol and the one in Dublin.”

Shoney’s in Dublin had been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, when the governor eased restrictions and the state entered Phase 3 of reopening plans the restaurant reopened.

“We have been able to be open since we were shut down before because we had gotten a Payroll Protection Loan, so our payroll has been coming from that account,” Spencer explained.   “Unfortunately, that was exhausted this week and we cannot continue to meet payroll and bills for food, utilities, repairs, etc., so we had to close the two restaurants with the lowest sales and see how we do. There is talk that we may be able to apply for a 2nd loan, but that has to get through Congress, and our franchise may be considered too large at this point to qualify if they are going to specifically help smaller business owners first this time.”

While Shoney’s has always been popular with locals, travelers staying at nearby hotels and coming off the interstate were vital to the restaurant’s business.

That’s just not happening enough now due to the pandemic.

“People just are not traveling like normal, and are wary about eating out, and there is nothing that any amount of advertising, etc. is going to do to change that with the current situation,” Spencer said. “Even if there were travelers, etc. out there, we can’t really fully seat our dining rooms and maintain social distance, although I don’t think it’s been a case that we have had waiting lines.   This is a terrible time for our economy and particularly the restaurant industry.”