Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nick’s Pizza Restaurant In Trouble

If you live in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago you know about Nick’s Pizza. They have the best around bar none and we have been going there since they opened back in 1995. They have two locations, one in Crystal Lake and another in Elgin. The Elgin location is suffering because Wal-Mart is building a new supercenter next door to them plus Elgin & South Elgin decided to re-pave Randal Road in front of them so all of this has ruined access to the restaurant for the past going on 2 years.

People get sick of waiting for the traffic to clear so don’t bother going. I received an email from them basically asking for people to go to their restaurant. Hopefully they do, if Nick’s can’t make it that’s nearly 100 people that will lose their job. Granted Wal-Mart is opening next door but I could give a crap about Wal-Mart, it’s going to kill Meijer and Butera just like they have done in several other towns. Why else would they build right across the street?  Disappointed smile

Anyway, if you live in the area of Crystal Lake, IL or Elgin, IL stop by if you can, you won’t regret it.

Here is the email. I reformatted it for the blog but the wording is left unchanged.

BAs a valued frequent guest of our restaurant, I feel it is necessary to share the following with you.

An Uncertain Future

I have never understood why owners or management of a failing company usually don't give others close to the company--especially customers--fair warning about what is going on. In many instances, the team, the core family that built the business, has showed up to work and found the doors locked. I have always said I would never do that to the people I truly care about and owe my life to.

I realize that sending an e-mail like this is risky and unorthodox, but I don't care because I don't have anything to fear or hide. We run our business with totally open books, and the core team that shows up to our weekly fiscal huddles will not be surprised by what I'm writing. I truly care about our team and each guest who has blessed us by choosing to eat at Nick's instead of any of the many other places available to them.

As of the beginning of this week, the hard reality facing us has become glaringly apparent to me. We overbuilt and overspent, and then we didn't cut fast enough or hard enough when sales started to go downhill. The issue is primarily with our Elgin restaurant, but because we are one company, the failure of Elgin will likely impact Crystal Lake as well, depending on the choices our bank makes. This failure is not the fault of our team members; on the contrary, I am extremely grateful to them for their incredible contributions, including accepting salary cuts, taking on more responsibilities, and volunteering to market us on their own time. The whole responsibility for our troubles is mine for making the bad decisions that got us into this mess.

I realize that many of you out there see a busy restaurant and don't understand how we cannot be profitable, or as many of you have expressed, how we could not be "rolling in cash." We do bring in a lot of revenue, but unfortunately that is not enough to cover our mortgage and the other expenses that accrue from having such large facilities. In 2008, sales at our Elgin location began to drop, causing that location to lose money. Fortunately, Crystal Lake was profitable enough to cover both restaurants most of the time. As of this year, that's no longer true. The sales drop in Elgin alone has been 30% since last year and close to 40% since 2007, thanks largely to the bad economy and our location next to the road construction.

We thought that the opening of a new Walmart across the street from Elgin on October 26th would bring enough new traffic to save that location and our company. Unfortunately, the bills that we have been pushing back this year are catching up with us now, about four weeks short of the finish line. Barring some sort of miracle, we are going to run out of cash to pay our vendors and team members over the next couple of weeks and will have to close. Believe me, I have already tried everything possible and would not be writing this if the amount we needed was not many thousands of dollars more than I personally could come up with. I really did believe we were going to make it to the finish line and pull through this, but I have nothing left that I can sell, pawn, or promise--just my business, which now is on the table.

I do have one last hope for me and the 200 team members of Nick's. If within these next four weeks we could see a large increase in sales at either of our restaurants, we could still pull through. So my final request is for each of you to come dine at Nick's Pizza & Pub and tell all your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors to come now, too. We want to continue on as a part of your community and aren't ready to tell you goodbye yet. If you wish to contact me with investor ideas or any ideas or questions at all, you can email me at office@nickspizzapub.com, call me at 815.356.5557, or simply stop by and talk in person. Thank you for reading.


Nick Sarillo

Founder and owner of Nick's Pizza & Pub

Nick's Pizza & Pub

856 Pyott Rd., Crystal Lake, 815.356.5550

990 S. Randall Rd., Elgin, 847.531.5550



Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting about Nick's. I would hate to see them not make it. It's really hard to see so many businesses struggling in this economy (and then add road construction). I think about all the businesses in Huntley with Rte. 47 being under construction for what seems like forever. Val and I stopped one morning on the way out of town at a small doughnut shop on 47 and I asked the owner how much the construction had affected her business. She went on to tell us how much things have dropped off and the hardship it's causing. They also keep changing the entrance to their parking lot making it more difficult for her customers. Val and I will go to Nick's in the next few days. I think it's great that Nick is being so open about this with his customers and team members.I hope things turn around for their business.
Bruce (& Val)

JoJo said...

2 years to repave a road? Are you sure you don't live in Tucson?
I just don't understand how they cannot see what they are doing to small business owners or how little they care.

And the small business people give the best customer service.

Diana said...

This is really sad Erik and it sickens me too. I lived in Chicago a majority of my life. In the city, not the burbs. I had so many favorite pizza places and restaurants that I would frequent. As a matter of fact, Jake and I have many times said that it is the food that we miss the most about living there. Such an incredible variety of ethnic delights!! Truth be told I also miss the people. Believe it or not, they are much friendlier there than in this small town. Anyway I hope Nicks doesn't go under. I now how great it is to go sit in your favorite establishment to get some great food! Love Di ♥

Phyllis said...

Please keep us updated on Nick's status. I've never been to Chicago but hear great things about the restaurants and especially the pizza.

Alan and Marilyn McMillan said...

How sad -- just another sign in our struggling economy. And 2 years to pave a road -- give me a break!

Big Matt said...

This sounds alot like what killed off "Our daily bread" over in St. Johns, a part of Portland.

ODOT Completely close the St. John's bridge, the main arterial route across the river to the area for three years to recondition the bridge.

The clientle, mostly dock workers ended up going else where for their meals and the business never came back even after the bridge re-opened.

Daily bread finally closed its doors for good about half a year back, I only got a chance to go there twice before we lost them.