President Donald Trump is still settling in the White House environment and is dealing with several controversies three months into his presidency.
Now it looks like his harsh rhetoric and administration’s agenda is also affecting his business as a Japanese-fusion restaurant inside the Trump Soho is forced to shut down after business declined post-election.
Koi, a high-end sushi restaurant, was once the place for celebrities and wealthy patrons. It is owned by Koi Group, not Trump, and was simply located in the Trump Soho building but seems like that was enough to hurt its sales.
“Obviously, the restaurant is closing because business is down. I don’t think anyone would volunteer to close a business if they were making money. Beyond that, I would prefer not to speculate as to why, but obviously since the election, it’s gone down,” said Suzanne Chou, Koi Group’s general counsel.
The restaurant has locations across the world. According to reviews, most of the locations are generally very busy and reservations are hard to come by. However, that is no longer the case for Koi Soho.
Ever since the billionaire mogul pulled off a surprise victory over Hillary Clinton in U.S. presidential elections, Trump branded hotels have seen a fall out. The Trump International Hotel in Washington saw two celebrity chefs back out and struggled to find replacements.
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain also publicly stated that he’d never eat at one of Donald Trump’s restaurants. That is not all — Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James also announced they would boycott Trump hotels on away games.
Jonathan Grullon, a busser at Koi restaurant, said, “Before Trump won we were doing great. There were a lot of people we had, our regulars, who’d go to the hotel but are not affiliated with Trump. And they were saying if he wins, we are not coming here anymore.”
Grullon further added that there are just 10 service staffers in total, including both front and back of the house. He also explained that the dining room is almost never even at half-capacity now. He further revealed he has been forced to pick a second job as now he is making approximately $200 less a week these days.
The restaurant's Bryant Park location, which is located just three miles away, is reportedly not experiencing any drop in business since the election. Koi will close its doors in June and is reportedly considering a move to a different location in downtown Manhattan.
Koi at the Trump Soho Hotel shut down due to slow business, meanwhile Koi at Bryant Park continues to be busy https://t.co/rSxefdv64t— Shai (@shaig) April 27, 2017
A restaurant in a Trump building closes, and it's fairly clear that disdain for Trump, not the food, is the cause. https://t.co/eKkqX0NjrZ— Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) April 27, 2017
Koi, the posh restaurant in Trump's SoHo hotel, is closing after business declined following the 2016 election https://t.co/VYpgw3c4Dx— Jen Calfas (@JenCalfas) April 27, 2017