It may be worse than we thought.
When I told you Tuesday about major staff changes at Roy’s Restaurant on Sand Lake Road, I tongue-in-cheekedly wondered if we weren’t seeing the beginning of the Applebeeification of the upscale-casual seafood restaurant. That was a a reference to the purchase of all the mainland Roy’s by a Dallas-based company that also owns a considerable number of Applebee’s “neighborhood bar & grill” eateries.
Of course, the purchase alone of the restaurants by a company known more for casual, downscale dining isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. Landry’s proved that it could be a leader in family style restaurants and still let restaurants like Oceanaire Seafood Room continue to be fine seafood restaurants.
But now comes word that the mainland Roy’s Restaurants are under an edict by corporate headquarters to implement changes that may alter the sort of dining experience that founder Roy Yamaguchi started in his Hawaiian restaurant.
According to my sources, who requested anonymity, all Roy’s owned by United Ohana LLC must now offer the same menu. Chef specials will not be allowed. Indeed, point of sale computers have been configured so that anything not on the menu cannot be entered.
Chefs are also required to purchase seafood from a limited list of vendors, which in many cases will restrict their ability to purchase from local sources.
Staff pay and bonus structures have been changed, too, resulting in a salary reduction for many in management.
How will all of this play out on the plate, and just as important, in the service?
I’ll let you know when I revisit Roy’s after the new management is in place.