Troubled fast-casual restaurant chain suddenly shutters all Austin locations
Less than a year after acquiring Noon Mediterranean, Daphne’s Mediterranean has had a change of heart. The popular California chain confirmed July 30 that it closed all its Texas locations this month, including six in Austin.
“While we are very proud of our ability to offer customers in Texas a fun, fresh, and delicious Mediterranean dining experience, we decided that the sales performance of these locations, which were operated by Noon Enterprise LTD, were not up to our expectations,” said Daphne’s director of marketing David Eldredge in a statement.
Elite Restaurant Group, the owner of Daphne’s, bought Noon out of bankruptcy in October 2018. In early 2019, the group converted all of the locations to a hybrid concept that combined Noon’s build-your-own bowls with signature dishes from the Daphne’s menu.
Noon itself was the 2017 rebranding of Verts Mediterranean (nee VertsKebap), a fast-casual chain founded in Austin in 2011. The once-promising franchise took on the new name after a series of missteps, including rapid expansion and menu changes that eliminated some of the restaurant’s most popular options. Prior to the rebranding, the chain closed 11 underperforming Texas locations, including four in Austin.
The transition from Verts to Noon did not go smoothly. In an interview with trade publication Restaurant Business, Noon CEO Stefan Boyd said that the rebranding was rushed, creating problems for the locations and market confusion.
While the Verts’ saga may be one of the Austin restaurant world’s greatest cautionary tales, Daphne’s isn’t giving up on the Lone Star State. According to Eldredge, the company is actively looking to revive its Texas business in the near future.