A popular Washington, D.C.–based fast-casual chain abruptly shuttered all locations this weekend after an investor pulled its funding.
Taylor Gourmet, an upscale hoagie shop that had grown to 19 locations, closed its two Chicago stores after service on Friday and its D.C.-area units after Sunday’s service.
According to a report in Washingtonian, the closures came after private equity firm KarpReilly, which invested more than $5 million into the concept in 2015, backed out of its support. In addition, a spokesperson for Taylor Gourmet told Washingtonian that the concept had grown too quickly, and earlier reports indicating that the company was planning to close a handful of D.C. locations pointed to rising real estate costs as the culprit.
However, the Washingtonian report also noted that the company was suffering from a sales downturn that began after Taylor Gourmet cofounder Casey Patten visited with President Donald Trump in January 2017 for a round-table discussion. That visit sparked an outcry from many of the concept’s customers, who urged a boycott.
Patten defended the visit with Trump, noting that he used the opportunity to discuss the president’s stance on immigration in support of his employees. Patten also said at the time that he was “apolitical.” Indeed, Taylor Gourmet first made waves on the national scene in 2012 when then-president Barack Obama visited and hosted a roundtable discussion for small-business owners. Obama and former vice president Joe Biden visited the concept on multiple occasions.
In an email, the Taylor Gourmet spokesperson confirmed to QSR the details as they were reported in Washingtonian.
QSR named Taylor Gourmet to its inaugural 40/40 List in 2017, noting that “the brand's approach to food has set it apart from other sandwich competitors; Taylor Gourmet's staff does everything from roast turkey and braise pork to create stocks and risotto in-house every day.”