Symon To Shutter Cleveland’s Bar Symon; Average Ticket Sales Drops in September


Tough to hear this week of the imminent closing of Chef Michael Symon’s Bar Symon. Though Symon’s mention of it via social media last evening was the first I read of it, Cleveland’s Scene reporter Douglas Trattner posted the news shortly after restaurant employees received  official word yesterday afternoon.

“This is the first time in our company that we’ve had to close down a restaurant,” said a clearly-wounded Symon. “It’s not that the restaurant wasn’t doing well or was losing money. It’s just that we weren’t doing the kind of volume required for that price point.”

Opened in 2009, Bar Symon had been well-received, offering patrons a tavern-like atmosphere, full drink menu, and signature Symon dishes. With a handful of still-shining stars in the area, including Cleveland’s Lola and Lolita and Detroit’s Michael Symon’s Roast, the chef remains optimistic about his namesake eatery.

“Of all the concepts, Bar Symon is still my favorite. We’ll just have to find a better home for it.”

The move comes just two weeks after New York restaurateur Danny Meyer surprised many by announcing plans to terminate operations at his popular Tabla location after twelve years.

Certainly on that same note, Nation’s Restaurant News recently reported that while the number of restaurant transactions in September was well above 2009 numbers, the average customer ticket had decreased. According to the article, payment processor First Data noted that transactions had grown overall by 9.2% compared to this time last year while the average bill saw a drop of negative 4.5%.

“This decline was the fourth consecutive month of lower average tickets,” First Data said. “The decline in average tickets was broad-based. Consumers continued to search for discounts, which was reflected by lower average tickets and more frequent purchases.”

The decline is thought to be due to restaurant promotions, offering discount meals, or consumers choosing “lower-price combo meals and value meals.”

~Jennifer Heigl

**Front page photo credit: Michael Symon Restaurants