'We're still here'

Terry Roberts
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Economy Owner of My Brother's Place franchise to rebrand St. John's restaurant

The owner of the only remaining My Brother's Place in the St. John's area is being forced to adapt following the closure of two other restaurants of the same name.

My Brother's Place restaurants on Torbay Road in St. John's and a recently opened location in Conception Bay South have gone out of business.

The owner of the only remaining My Brother's Place in the St. John's area is being forced to adapt following the closure of two other restaurants of the same name.

My Brother's Place restaurants on Torbay Road in St. John's and a recently opened location in Conception Bay South have gone out of business.

The Topsail Road location, owned by Tom Byrne, and another restaurant in Corner Brook, remain open. Both restaurants are franchises, and operate independently, Byrne explained.

"We're here. We're in full operation. It's business as usual with us. We've been a successful business and we're going to carry on," Byrne said Thursday.

Brothers Chad and Jeff Davis created the local restaurant chain in the 1990s. It's believed Chad took full control of the business just recently. At one point, a My Brother's Place also operated at Mile One Centre in downtown St. John's.

Byrne joined with the Davis brothers and another partner to open the Topsail Road location in November 2000. Byrne and his wife Jo-Ann became sole owners of the franchise a year and a half ago.

But now that the founders of the chain are no longer in business, Byrne plans a major overhaul of his location. In the coming months, customers will be introduced to a new name, a new atmosphere and a new menu.

"We see this as an opportunity to give our business a fresh new look," Byrne said.

The Topsail Road restaurant employs 24 people, and has been experiencing a steady growth in business, Byrne explained. But he said news of the closure has had an impact.

"A lot of people think we're tied in also and that we're no longer in business, which is not the case," Byrne said.

Customers who have gift certificates purchased from the restaurants that closed are also out of luck. Byrne said he can't honour the certificates, because it would mean a loss for his business.

"I can't recoup that money from the other locations. It's unfortunate, and I feel bad," Byrne stated, adding that he will offer a discount to those who have gift certificates purchased from the former locations.

It's not the first challenge faced by Byrne. Two years ago, vandals started a fire at the rear of the restaurant, forcing the business to close temporarily for repairs.

Chad Davis could not be reached for comment.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Brother's

Geographic location: St. John's, Topsail Road, Torbay Road Corner Brook Jeff Davis

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  • proud newfoundlander
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I am not surprised with the closing of TOrbay Road. I have had 2 bad experiences at that restaurant and the customer service was not what it should be. I certainly don't put all the blame on the staff. I starts at the owner and passed on and Mr. Davis unfortunatley did not give good service or care for his clientel. The Toipsial Rd restaurant however is totally different and I have eaten there many times (after saying I'd never eat at My Brothr's Place again) however the service their is excellent and the owners are always so pleasant and helpful Good luck to you guys and I hope you have a booming business.

  • Bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I echo what 'proud newfoundlander' said. My wife and I had two bad experiences with service at the Torbay Rd location and would not return. However we love the Topsail Road restaurant. I hope they don't change too much as we really enjoy the restaurant as it is. The staff is fantastic.

  • Randall
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Its going to be tough for restaurants to survive. When you've lost your job or even might lose your job, what choice do people make.... fix supper for two at home for 10 bucks or go out for supper and spend 50 bucks ( or more ). But then again, here in Newfoundland we've always had a unemployment rate that is higher at our good times than the rest of Canada and the US in their hard times. The US economy is reeling with a 8% unemployment rate, and we think its great when ours is anything under double digits. I think this is the reason our economy isn't experiencing the same hard hit from the downturn in the mainland economy. People will always go out to eat for special occassions, and the lower priced chains are almost as cheap as cooking yourself if you stick to the specials menu ( and bring your own pop with you, which I recently saw one local politician and businessman do while eating at a restaurant. Talk about cheap! )

  • proud newfoundlander
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    I am not surprised with the closing of TOrbay Road. I have had 2 bad experiences at that restaurant and the customer service was not what it should be. I certainly don't put all the blame on the staff. I starts at the owner and passed on and Mr. Davis unfortunatley did not give good service or care for his clientel. The Toipsial Rd restaurant however is totally different and I have eaten there many times (after saying I'd never eat at My Brothr's Place again) however the service their is excellent and the owners are always so pleasant and helpful Good luck to you guys and I hope you have a booming business.

  • Bob
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    I echo what 'proud newfoundlander' said. My wife and I had two bad experiences with service at the Torbay Rd location and would not return. However we love the Topsail Road restaurant. I hope they don't change too much as we really enjoy the restaurant as it is. The staff is fantastic.

  • Randall
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Its going to be tough for restaurants to survive. When you've lost your job or even might lose your job, what choice do people make.... fix supper for two at home for 10 bucks or go out for supper and spend 50 bucks ( or more ). But then again, here in Newfoundland we've always had a unemployment rate that is higher at our good times than the rest of Canada and the US in their hard times. The US economy is reeling with a 8% unemployment rate, and we think its great when ours is anything under double digits. I think this is the reason our economy isn't experiencing the same hard hit from the downturn in the mainland economy. People will always go out to eat for special occassions, and the lower priced chains are almost as cheap as cooking yourself if you stick to the specials menu ( and bring your own pop with you, which I recently saw one local politician and businessman do while eating at a restaurant. Talk about cheap! )