A couple of weeks ago it was announced that four Michigan area O’Charley’s Restaurants (one in
Holland, one in Grand Rapids, two on east side of the state) owned by Meritage Hospitality Group (MHG) were going to be dropping the O’Charley’s franchise and the restaurants will be re-launched as the Twisted Rooster within two years. The Grand RapidsTwister Rooster will be launched on July 21st. Alright well what is the Twisted Rooster, sounds like another chain. Well it is kind of, it is a local chain that was developed by locally owned MHG. According to The Grand Rapids Press article the Twisted Rooster will feature a “concept to adapt to consumer preferences that favor unique, local eateries using local ingredients.” Apparently MHG was “underwhelmed by the performance of O’Charley’s” and decided to make a change.
This of course sounds great and I will be interested to check out the new restaurant and see just how “twisted” the menu is. But even more fascinating to me is the transformation of a national franchise chain into a local area restaurant. Oddly enough the Grand Rapids area has experienced one of these transformations in the past. Anyone remember the various Pizzeria Unos that dotted Grand Rapids, well they were all transformed into a restaurant called Malarky’s in 2008. As far as I can glean it was the same reasons why O’Charley’s will be flipped into Twisted Rooster, restaurants were under performing, franchise fees were expensive, and the owners thought they could do better by themselves.
So what do you think is this going to be a continuing trend, the “unchaining” of restaurants? Can we expect more restaurants to go this route? What are your thoughts and is this a good thing or bad thing?
Oh yeah for all you social media nuts out there here is Twisted Roosters stuff – Twitter (interesting how they are engaging the consumers asking for opinions and ideas. Very cool how they interacted with GRSocialDiary regarding vegan dining options). Facebook page.
See what West Michigan’s restaurant reviewer had to say about Malarky’s.
Update: See my updated thoughts about Twisted Rooster in my new post.
Update #2: Per Twisted Rooster, there are no longer plans to reopen in Holland, there is now a for sale sign at the old O’Charley’s building