Here’s why eateries like Plymouth’s Greek Islands are rebranding
Plymouth’s Greek Islands restaurant is closing Jan. 16 for an extended period to rebrand and renovate a cornerstone business that sits in the heart of one of Wayne County’s most-visited downtowns.
What will the eatery offer and look like once it reopens?
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The rebrand is part of an ever-evolving look to downtown Plymouth, which is welcoming a new business to the high-profile southwest corner of Ann Arbor Trail and Main Street and recently suffered the closure of Wiltse’s Pharmacy following a 42-year run on Main Street.
For the next few days, at least, the restaurant’s menu is topped by breakfast items, Greek-themed entrees, wraps and coney island-Esque offerings including, yes, coney dogs and burgers.
While the reasons why Greek Islands ownership is changing things up is unclear, the rebranding is completely understandable — and not unique in the restaurant business these days — based on results of a touchbistro.com survey that polled 600 restaurant owners across the United States to learn what post-pandemic challenges the industry faces and what’s on the horizon for 2023.
Shuffling the deck is a necessity for many eatery entrepreneurs due to the unsettled climate created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey reiterated.
On the bright side, the survey revealed that as of October 2022, 75% of restaurants’ sales had recovered to pre-pandemic levels; although 97% of restaurant owners revealed they are short-staffed at least one employee and just over half were forced to raise menu prices as much as 15%.
Restaurant owners have learned to pivot to survive, the survey revealed, as 97% now use at least one online ordering system with 34% offer at least three; and most eateries — the Greek Islands included — offer multiple dining options, led by dine-in (40%), patio (21%), delivery (20%) and takeout/curbside (19%).
Touchbistro.com’s report offered five emerging trends to look for in the restaurant industry in 2023: 1. Calculated pricing changes made necessary by the rising cost of supplies; 2. Menu flexibility triggered mostly by supply-chain shortages and disruptions; 3. Refocusing on retention of employees as the survey revealed the worker shortage has worsened significantly from 2021 to 2022; 4. The TikTok turning point (the social media platform is rapidly gaining traction as the most-used app for ordering food); and 5. Finding point-of-sale (POS) systems that do it all.
Some things rarely change
The exterior of the building the Greek Islands partially occupies hasn’t changed much since 1920 when its predecessor on the southwest corner of the intersection of Main Street and Penniman Ave. was demolished to make room for the granite and limestone structure that initially housed the Plymouth United Savings Bank.
According to the Plymouth Preservation Network, the structure’s original interior included “a spacious lobby that glowed with electric chandeliers, marble floors and capstone that rose halfway up the wall.”
The building was a financial-based center until 1994 when it was sold to a private owner.
What will the renovated property offer? Only insiders know for sure, but the business’s heart-of-the-city presence will not diminish — whether it’s an upscale, fine-dining steak-centered restaurant or something entirely different.