Monday, December 16, 2013

OK Corral in Jordan is officially closed

For nine years or so, I have routinely driven by the OK Corral restaurant and bar located south of Jordan, MN. I knew something was up last Friday when I saw that their LED sign alongside the highway simply said "CLOSED".

For a bit of a backstory, the OK Corral (to me at least) seemed to have a bit of a checkered past. It seemed like there were, like many restaurants, two tiers of employees. There were employees who truly cared about what they were doing and there were those who wouldn't care if their best friend were on fire and they were standing two feet away while holding a bucket of water with one hand and a fire extinguisher with the other.

The changes in ownership, too, seemed to play a part in the quality of both food and service. If I'm counting correctly, the current ownership which ended in the OK Corral of Jordan, MN closing was at least the third in the nine years I have lived in the area. Quality seemed to have hit its high mark under the ownership of Dangerfield's in Shakopee.

The restaurant and bar seemed to suffer from an identity crisis as well. The restaurant area is large as is the bar area. The problem (or maybe it isn't really a problem) is that there isn't much in the way of physical separation between the two areas. The restaurant area, at least on my most recent visit (when it was still under the ownership of Dangerfield's) served affordable entrees but it was definitely a sit-down restaurant which, given the prices and atmosphere, seemed to cater to families and older married adult couples. It seemed to cater to the 30 and up crowd who may want a couple drinks with their dinner as well as those who may want to eat their meal at the bar and hang around for a couple hours. It had an atmosphere of western class.

The new ownership group seemed to steer Jordan's OK Corral into more a straight-ahead bar direction. They forged ahead with booking bands on the weekends and possibly more frequently. Being unaware if there had been changes to the interior of the building, I have to think that having bands playing -- even with a start time of 9 PM -- would at least interfere with a portion of the sit-down dinner crowd who may have lingered around after their meal over a bottle of wine or a few drinks. I am not a restaurant owner or expert but day-parting your activities and catering to drastically different crowds is a challenge but if done properly can maximize profits.

However, the end result is closed doors. Maybe the quality of the food declined. Maybe the level of service for customers was disappointing. Maybe the day-parted approach didn't draw well on either side. Maybe there wasn't enough customer loyalty or awareness. Whatever the case is, restaurants are an extremely tough business. The failure rate is high (over 50% if I remember correctly). But my ultimate theory, especially after checking out the OK Corral Facebook page, is that management/ownership were in over their heads.

Below is the text of some of the interactions from the OK Corral's Facebook page.

Bryan Hannes No apologies to the employes, just the bands?
Like · Reply · 36 · December 11 at 5:46pm via mobile

    OK Corral We apologize to them but not in a statement on Facebook for you to think we are not hurt by letting employees go shows you know nothing
Bryan Hannes Shena ray no they did not let employees know, but if they would have listened to us employees, it would not be closed!!
Like · Reply · 9 · December 12 at 4:37am via mobile

    OK Corral Your an idiot.
Amanda Svihel We haven't even got our paychecks and don't know if we even will, I doubt you'll get refunded, sorry!
Like · Reply · 1 · December 12 at 4:00pm via mobile

    OK Corral We have made attempts to contact everyone and all employees will get paid you don't respond to texts or even try to get in touch with me. You have my number I don't know why you spread this crap


I understand that in having to close the OK Corral, the owners are likely out a large amount of their own funds but even as a closed business owner a little decorum and the appearance of sincerity in your message goes a long way. Going as far as calling someone (it appears to be an employee) an idiot makes me think that there may have been name-calling like that going on in the workplace as well. Working with difficult ownership makes work difficult. Proactive ownership and management will listen to their employees. Given the above public interactions, I believe that ownership was the reason that the OK Corral closed. It's a shame, too, because the restaurant is in a prime location but its name is rather tainted. Best of luck to whomever runs the restaurant for the next go-round.

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