Family-owned restaurant chain forced to close

Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 03/31/2020, 9:42 AM
Edited: 03/11/2021, 10:22 AM
(TULSA, Okla.) Apple Barrel Café in Owasso had its Grand Opening on February 10. A little over a month later they were forced to close their doors indefinitely, along with their four other locations. The chain opened their first restaurant in Bixby in 2002. Another in Broken Arrow and two in Tulsa followed, with Owasso making their fifth. Danielle Obaied was a manager at three of their locations. “All our restaurants closed on different days,” Obaied said. “Business didn’t slow down, it stopped. We offered to-go and carry-out, then went to curbside but even that didn’t work.” She said it cost them more to be open than to close. “Not to mention, a lot of employees were scared to come to work,” Obaied said. “Rightfully so. On the other hand, I have employees begging for work but there is no business. Also, with the fluidity of this virus and the laws changing every day it scares more people to get out.” Obaied described the whole ordeal as surreal. She said their family has applied for all of the assistance on a personal and business level that they can, but they haven’t received anything or heard back from anyone yet. Most of their service providers and suppliers are being understanding now, but, along with everything else, they are not sure how much longer that will last. Obaied said their employees are also suffering. “We have given food to those who have asked but that is all we can do right now,” Obaied said. “We wish we could do more. We are all in the same situation. We can’t even help ourselves. This not only affects us but all our employees. Each location has at least 20 employees, that is at least 20 families affected. Between all five locations that is a minimum of 100 families not including each owner’s family and additional staff.” She told VNN people can help by supporting them more than ever by dining in, carrying out, or purchasing gift cards, if and when they are able to reopen. “Small business is the backbone of the economy and our communities,” Obaied said. “We cannot wait to get back to some type of “normalcy” whatever that might look like going forward but mostly to serve our communities and see everyone again.”


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