The once-highly regarded New York-born gourmet grocer Dean & DeLuca’s problems are getting even worse. The Times reports that more U.S. vendors have cut the chain off. The company has also officially closed its recently opened Meatpacking restaurant Stage.
The company initially promised its NYC employees that they would receive up to 10 weeks paid after the abrupt closures, plus payment for unused vacation days and other payouts, according to the Times. A new letter sent to employees says the opposite: Dean & DeLuca won’t be paying the former workers “because it is a faltering company,” according to the Times.
That letter also states that Dean & DeLuca is no longer receiving funds from its parent company — it was purchased by Thai real estate giant Pace Development in 2014 — and that the owner is trying to sell the business.
That spells trouble for the last two remaining NYC stores, a market in Soho and a cafe in the New York Times building in Midtown. Many artisanal vendors have already cut the chain off; businesses such as Amy’s Cookies in Brooklyn are at risk of closing due the thousands of dollars they’re owed. And the chain can’t afford to pay its own laundry service, so employees are forced to wear dirty uniforms, according to the Times.
In recent weeks, the company quietly closed its Upper East Side market, as well as one in Napa Valley, and reports of unpaid vendors continue to surface.
Dean & DeLuca dreamt up the Stage concept three years ago when Asian-themed clubstaurant Spice Market exited the space at 29 Ninth Ave., at 13th Street. Finally in April, Stage opened as a fancy cafeteria-style restaurant centered around an open kitchen that served made-to-order sandwiches and bowls.
Dean & DeLuca has a big network of stores in Asia, where reportedly the parent company has ambitious expansion plans. Meanwhile, CEO Sorapoj Techakraisri recently said he’s “adjusting” the grocer’s U.S. footprint to a more “appropriate size.”