Spokane Journal of Business

Tony Roma’s closes its last restaurant here

Franchisee is focusing instead on growing Winger’s USA brand

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The Tony Romas restaurant on Spokanes North Sidethe last such eatery in operation herehas closed.

The franchisee, Salt Lake City-based Slaymaker Group Inc., which also shuttered its Tony Romas restaurant in Spokane Valley this past summer, blames the closure on the decline of the brand and problems with the restaurants location along Division Street.

It was obvious that there was going to be no growth at the restaurant, says CEO Scott Slaymaker. It made no sense for us to operate an outpost Tony Romas.

The restaurant had operated in its location at 7640 N. Division since 1996, he says. The Slaymaker Group bought the franchise rights to that restaurant and the one in the Valley in 1999, and at one time operated 16 Tony Romas restaurants in Washington, Utah, and Arizona.

The company has slowly phased out those restaurants, though, and instead has focused on growing its subsidiary restaurant chain, Wingers USA.

Lance Jensen, the Washington state restaurant developer for Wingers USA, opened a Wingers Bar & Grill this summer in the former Tony Romas spot at the Spokane Valley Mall. About half of the North Side Tony Romas roughly 40 employees now work at that eatery, Slaymaker says.

Jensen says hes looking for franchisees interested in opening other Wingers restaurants in the Spokane area, and says that the area likely will have three Wingers restaurants, one of which would be on the North Side eventually. He has ruled out the former Tony Romas building on Division as a possible location, though.

Carl Guenzel, a real estate broker at Spokane-based Kiemle & Hagood Co., says hes marketing the nearly 5,800-square-foot building for sublease, since the Slaymaker Groups lease on the structure hasnt expired yet.

Contact Emily Proffitt at (509) 344-1265 or via e-mail at emilyp@spokanejournal.com.

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