Why all the restaurant closures in Tyler?

Why all the restaurant closures in Tyler?
Jeff Williams (Source: KLTV)
Jeff Williams (Source: KLTV)
Tom Mullins (Source: KLTV)
Tom Mullins (Source: KLTV)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - After several Tyler restaurants closed this month, some are questioning if there are too many restaurants in the city.

We spoke with economic experts and those in the restaurant industry to try to figure out if Tyler's restaurant market is too saturated and if that could keep others from setting up shop here.

It's true that in Tyler, you don't have to go far to find a restaurant. In one location along South Broadway, we counted at least 10 locations in close proximity, but how much is too much, and are too many restaurants opening causing others to close up?

Tom Mullins with the Tyler Economic Development Council says that answer is tricky since he says Tyler is considered one of the strongest restaurant markets in the state.

"It might be a personnel issue, management issue, financing, location," says Mullins.

It's a question that we also posed to Jeff Williams, a managing partner of Aspen Creek.

Williams helped open the restaurant months ago. He says one thing stood out to them from the Tyler market.

"Just the solid growth," says Williams.

It is solid growth that he says also presents its own challenges for restaurant owners.

"Some of the real estate and pretty much all the real estate has been taken up, the pieces that are out there they are definitely paying a premium for," says Williams.

He says when you have many restaurants nearby, the challenge extends to business plans, evolving and making sure that needs are met for restaurants to remain competitive.

"Tyler, sad to say, has lost some of those recently that wouldn't fit their plan," says Williams.

So, how many restaurants is too many? Mullins says when the growth stops. And that will have to be decided by the free market.

"It'll hit a wall, where people are saying 'we don't think this market will support our franchise, or our concept' and they might hold off for a while until they see more growth happening," says Mullins.

"Restaurants is different than the saturation point of nail salons, or banks. Name the niche, they all have their own maximum saturation level," says Mullins.

Some of the restaurants that have recently closed include, the Subway in Downtown Tyler, Gusano's Chicago-Style Pizzeria, Smashburger, Seoul Garden and What about Kabob.

Mullins and Williams both believe there is room for growth in the restaurant business. Mullins says recently developed areas in West Tyler could see an increase.

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