Taylor Gourmet declared bankruptcy after being shunned by protestors

By Tim Nelson
September 24, 2018
Anshu Ajitsaria/Getty Images

Restaurants open and close every day across this vast country. And the world is probably oversaturated with sandwich chains at this point if we’re being honest. So the fact that Taylor Gourmet seems to be going under isn’t broadly newsworthy in and of itself. Rather, it’s the cause of the DC-area restaurant chain’s downward spiral that is of note.

Taylor Gourmet just shuttered every one of its 17 mid-Atlantic outlets (plus two Chicago locations) over the weekend, and according to reporting from the Washingtonian, its ownership is on the verge of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Why? The chain had been tainted by the touch of President Donald Trump.

It’s not because the president thinks Taylor Gourmet’s sandwiches are tremendous and beautiful, but due to co-founder Casey Patten taking a meeting at the White House shortly after Trump’s inauguration. As part of a delegation of small business owners who spoke with the president, Patten posed for a photo op with the Commander in Chief, which chafed some of his longtime customers.

Patten told the Post that his presence at the meeting was “apolitical”, and framed the whole affair as a reflection of his business interests rather than any political agenda. Patten “was invited by The White House to participate in a discussion surrounding issues facing small businesses,” telling the Washington Post at the time that he “was proud to have also had the opportunity to raise these issues in similar meetings with President Obama and his staff.”

While the meeting in question took place over a year and a half ago, those close to Taylor Gourmet who spoke to the Washingtonian blamed the event for what allegedly ballooned to a 40% dip in sales. That’s tough for any growing business to survive. A look at social media around the time of the meeting (which was also the same week that Trump’s first Muslim ban was announced) shows that at least a handful of consumers disagreed with Patten’s decision.

The irony is that Taylor Gourmet had actually enjoyed something of a PR boost from the previous POTUS. Obama (along with America’s debauched uncle and potential 2020 candidate Joe Biden) visited the sandwich chain multiple times and apparently Barry enjoys their turkey, prosciutto, pesto and mozzarella sandwich. The times have changed, of course, and even a faint association with our current McDonald’s-loving president is toxic.

So let that be a lesson to both Washington businesses and protestors alike: boycotts (coordinated or not) can have a real-world impact when it comes to the #resistance. It may not always feel like the voting booth can bring about effective change, but it’s good to know that voting with your wallet can still make an impact.