Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon closed seven of its eight Florida restaurants yesterday. The Lakeland location at 3723 US-98 North was shuttered along with locations in Bradenton, Fort Myers, Ocala, Pensacola, Port Orange, and St. Petersburg.
Lone Star closed 27 restaurants yesterday, leaving the company with 152 locations. According to a report in this morning’s Bradenton Herald Tribune the stores were closed for poor performance related:
“The main reason for the closings is performance-related,” Van Warner said. “Despite the best efforts of the teams, none had been performing that well for a long time.” — Herald Tribune
A call this morning to the Lakeland store was answered but staff reported they couldn’t comment.
I have a call in to the company spokesperson to find out how they’ll handle gift card redemption.
Update: I spoke to Lone Star spokesman Rick Van Warner. He reiterated that the restaurants were closed based on their performance. The chain’s only remaining Florida location is Orlando. However, he didn’t rule out the company’s return, “Florida is a market we’ll look at again.”
On the issue of employee compensation, Van Warner said all employees would receive severance pay based on their tenure and hours worked.
Van Warner said customers holding Lone Star gift cards can use them at any other Lone Star restaurant (list). The closest location is 8850 Vineland Avenue in Orlando; about a 40 minute drive from the closed Lakeland restaurant. (directions)
If you have a card, and don’t feel like driving to Orlando, you might check into the gift card secondary market. These are Web sites where you trade, auction, and buy gift cards. Read more about the service at Bankrate.com.