Lone Star Timaru to close, new operation hinted at
Timaru's Lone Star restaurant and bar will close its doors on Sunday, just over three years since it opened.
Detail of the closure - previously dismissed as rumour - was confirmed on Friday in a statement released by the Christchurch-based Lone Star franchise head office.
Director Steve Ward said the Lone Star franchise head office had "planned and agreed with the site owners, the structured closure of Lone Star TImaru on 19 February 2017".
"The mutual decision in no way reflects the performance of the business, as sales have been strong," Ward said.
The Texas roadhouse-themed bar and restaurant was one of a chain of about 28 throughout New Zealand. It opened on Sophia St in November 2013.
Ward said the Lone Star was "grateful for the years of support they have received from the local Timaru community".
The chain intended to re-establish in a new Timaru location with a "dedicated owner-operator".
"New locations and expressions of interest will be sought as soon as practicable in 2017," he said.
The Companies Office lists four directors of the company which owns the Timaru franchise. Seven shareholders are listed.
Shareholder and former director John Bishop said the closure was a loss.
"Everyone goes into it with good intentions," Bishop said.
He believed the closure was the correct decision but said he would would be looking for his next business opportunity.
When contacted, the restaurant manager said of the directors were in a meeting and a request for an interview would be passed on.
Calls were not returned on Friday.
In a statement, Ward said the directors "feel the need to focus on their other considerable business interests".
They recognised "the absence of an owner/operator within the business does not fit the Lone Star model," he said.
Detail of the closure follows persistent rumours of a possible closure of the restaurant and bar over the past 18 months.
Two years after opening, former manager Shantzee Donehue called talk of closure gossip and untrue.
The closure follows the closure of the Wanaka Lone Star in September 2016.
At the time, Ward said he did not wish to renew the lease on the building after seven years.
Hospitality New Zealand South Island territory manager Amy McLellan-Minty said the Lone Star franchise was a smart operator, in her experiecne, and she did not wish to comment further on the closure.
The first Lone Star was established in Christchurch in 1988.