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And That's A Wrap: Sproutworks Closes Its Last Retail Location

By Apr 26, 北京快3 Dining


You would have thought it would end differently. Shanghai in early 2013 was a hard place to find Western-style vegetarian food and the green trend among Chinese was just emerging. Into that environment stepped Sproutworks, a pretty bold idea. It was super vegetarian-friendly, with like a dozen prepared salads and sides to choose from, as well as meat dishes. It loudly told you that "I'm not your Ayi, clean up after yourself", plastered on the wall. It offered 北京快3made teas and drinks with copious amounts of sugar. And people loved it. Rightly so. They went from one shop on Donghu Lu to branches on Huashan Lu near the Kunlun (ex-Hilton), in the south plaza of Xintiandi and on Taixing Lu under WeWork. There were more in Hongqiao and Pudong and a spin-off, Ban Ban, in iapm. But that all ended quietly this past week when the Taixing Lu store, the last hold-out, shut its doors. So, what happened?

Well, one explanation is that it was an unfortunate series of landlord-related events that's all too common in Shanghai. The Xintiandi location was taken back for the big renovation and repositioning Xintiandi's south block is currently undertaking. The Taixing Lu location fell in the takeback of Zhangyuan that also claimed a Little Catch, the first Tomatito and others. The Huashan Lu location was redeveloped into an upgraded building; the old Sproutworks location is now a Starbucks.

That's three places that were closed before they were able to recoup all their investment, and that took a hit on the company as a whole, both financially and psychologically. It's hard being shut down. Have it happen to you three times, especially when business was doing well (Huashan) to awesome (Xintiandi), and you might not want to keep pumping money into it either. And that's the long and short of it. They didn't miss the trend; they didn't fluff up the execution. By all accounts, they should still be going. Take it as a reminder that running a restaurant is rarely as easy as cooking a bit of food and finding servers to deliver it. Managing real estate is just as important. Sometimes the best you can hope for is a decent pun in the obituary.



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  • 17 days ago Donny Who Loved Bowling Unverified User

    Raise a glass to Malcolm Shu!! Even when the plan is solid, the rent and the landlord will ruin it all....and so it goes Shanghai, so it goes....

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