SOUTH WINDSOR -- Three popular restaurants in Connecticut, all part of national chains, have closed.
Both Bonefish Grill locations in Newington and South Windsor at Evergreen Walk are closed. Those were the only Bonefish Grill locations in Connecticut, but there are still restaurants in neighboring Massachusetts and New York.
“Closing the restaurants was a difficult decision and was based solely on business circumstances," said a statement from Bloomin' Brands. "This has no reflection on the employees or their service."
“If you have Bonefish Grill gift cards, call guest relations at 866-880-2226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a gift card that can be used at any Bloomin' Brands restaurant," said Elizabeth Watts of Bloomin Brands. “There are other Carrabba's locations in the area where the gift card can be used. We'll consider each request on a case-by-case basis.”
Some team members will have the opportunity to transfer to open positions at another restaurant, the company added. All employees will receive severance.
Bloomin' Brands is the parent company of Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's, and other chains including Outback Steakhouse, and Flemings. Bloomin' Brands is based in Tampa, Florida and owns more than 200 restaurants around the country.
Frequent customers stopped by the Bonefish in Newington to learn it was closed, shocked with the news.
“Great experience, great food, great servers, no complaints from me whatsoever,” Rocky Hill resident Joanna Berger said. “I’m just extremely surprised that they closed because it's always been busy.”
Laurette Laramie likes to dine and noticed a lot of change in the restaurant world.
“The Restaurant 99 just suddenly up and closed and we’ve noticed other restaurants, Ruby Tuesday,” Laramie said. “On this stretch there's such a proliferation of restaurants we've often wondered how they compete with one another.”
Billy Grant and his brothers run three successful restaurants in Connecticut and Grant said it’s a tough business to be in one that requires a lot of time and attention.
“These times are hard, the labor costs is harder and harder, it's harder to find good help, there’s more competition for the exact help, and the food costs is tough too,” Grant said. “Then you put in the social media aspects, the charity aspects, all of those other things that don’t go along with the food and drink so it's challenging.”
A Nov. 2016 quarterly report by the restaurants parent company Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. shows a plan for Bonefish restructuring, reading: “On February 12, 2016 , we decided to close 14 Bonefish restaurants. We expect to substantially complete these restaurant closings through the first quarter of 2019…”
A new quarterly report is expected Friday, February 17th.
The Connecticut Restaurant Association offering out assistance to employees impact by the restaurants closing. It has a job portal on its website for those looking for a job.