Tuesday, February 2, 2010
What in the World Happened to Wendy’s?
It’s been several years now since the Wendy’s in Keauhou closed up. It was in an accessible location, quick in-and-out service, decent amount of parking and, get this –it had a better view of the Kona Coastline than any house I’ve ever lived in!
As real estate, the location-location-location should have guaranteed success: Situated smack dab in the middle of the Keauhou Resort area, road-linked to a grocery store-anchored outdoor mall, signal lights adjacent to help get you in and out of traffic, filling station across the road. So what happened?
The story goes that the owner couldn’t find enough help to stay open. Hard to figure that in today’s economy, but who knows? During the last boom maybe there were more and better jobs available to the (mostly) teenagers who would have been logical candidates for employment at Wendy’s.
Personally, I never got used to square hamburgers, though I ate at Wendy's once in a while, until, that is, I noticed that a lot of pieces of hamburger in the chili formed right triangles.
I recalled, from the summer I worked under a professional chef in the Catskills, that in the restaurant business, profits were maximized and waste was minimized by taking older, less-appetizing food and disguising and re-using it as a component in some different dish. Translation: I always felt like I was eating old, unsold hamburgers that had been chopped up and dropped into the pot.
I don’t know if that’s what they did or not but the evidence suggested it and, well, there were other options. The closing left me with little chagrin.
There’s been a rumor circulating that Kona chef Sam Choy has plans to open a restaurant of some kind in the too-long vacant building. If so, that would be a bold move in these times and I would wish him success.