Lekka Cafe of North Dallas closed near the end of February. Owners Lynne and Gary Kirshenbaum told the DMN they faced the necessity of buying the restaurant rather than leasing, which they could not afford.
The bistro opened in 2011 and was the oft-used site for graduation parties or wedding receptions.
Though Lekka is closed, they moved the gift shop to a new location. The gift shop, which was known for selling unique global trinkets, was acquired by Christopher White and Tom Burt in 2018 and now is less than a quarter mile away on Preston Road.
Dallas restaurant closures are mysteriously abundant this year, with Veritas Wine Room and Blue Goose Cantina both expected to close this March.
These recent closures come despite the boom restaurants experienced following the COVID-19 shutdowns. In 2022, the restaurant industry exceeded its “prepandemic record” revenue, raking in $900 billion, according to the National Restaurant Association, as reported by the WSJ.
The WSJ credited the slowing economy, the labor market, and consumer changes to the struggles restaurants are facing. These factors make staying open and paying rent on a storefront even more difficult.
Consumers are eating out at restaurants less as menu prices increase due to inflation. It seems that there is little restaurants can do to change these consumer habits, barring changes in price or convenience.
The WSJ points out that though chain restaurants and fast-food chains are having an easier time in this economy, some will still opt for independent restaurants for the ambiance or the higher quality of food.
Still, it is trickier and trickier even to get patrons to stick around the restaurant to enjoy the ambiance while they eat. According to data from the National Restaurant Association, around 79% of meals are not consumed at restaurants but off-premises. This is an 18% increase since before the pandemic.