With the closure over the weekend of Beausoleil—a shutdown that is billed as temporary, at least for now—three of the four restaurants in the Juban Restaurant Group have ceased operations.
Will the group’s flagship eatery, the Juban’s Creole on Perkins Road, be next?
Managing Partner Michael Boudreaux says he hopes not but he’s not making any promises. Nothing is a sure bet any longer, he says, including potential reopening dates for Beausoleil or the group’s other two restaurants, Christina’s, which closed last week, and Adrian’s, which closed earlier this month.
“As of right now we don’t know anything,” Boudreaux says. “We can’t do anything until the market is ready for us.”
Just two weeks ago, Boudreaux told The Advocate of the group’s plans to retool its menus and business model to adjust to the pandemic and the constraints it has placed on the industry.
At the time, Boudreaux said Adrian’s, which had done a brisk takeout business during the shutdown earlier this spring, would be closing while the other three would remain open.
Since then, however, the challenges of operating a restaurant group amid a pandemic have proved almost too much to bear, he says.
Not only is there a lack of business—both because of mandated limits on the number of diners and because many people are still wary of dining out—but there is also a workforce shortage that has been made worse by a recent spike in the disease among young people.
“What little staff you do have is getting sick,” he says. “One day you’re open, then someone gets sick and you get everybody tested and close for 24 hours. Then you get back to work and it happens again and again and finally it’s like, what’s the point? All you’re doing is beating up your staff.”
The experience of the Juban’s Restaurant Group is likely a harbinger of what’s to come for other local eateries and Boudreaux thinks other restaurants in the market will, regrettably, follow suit.
For now, he says he’s trying to remain optimistic, taking it “one day at a time,” but it’s hard to keep a positive attitude about the situation.
“I feel like I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s a train,” he says.