By Julia Fanger
Much to the chagrin of Alameda residents, popular hamburger joint Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers closed the doors to its South Shore franchise last month. The only restaurant to have openly opposed allowing food trucks to sell food to South Shore shoppers, Pearl’s blames its demise on the recent lack of business.
Some believe that management of South Shore Center contributed to the closure by allowing the food trucks onto the premises. Representatives from Jamestown Properties, the company that runs South Shore Center, would not comment on the situation due to the confidentiality of the contracts with their clients, but did state that had any illegal activity taken place, a battle would now be ensuing in court.
Employees from restaurants neighboring Pearl’s would not divulge any information about the effect the food trucks have had on their business financially.
Previously a supervisor at Pearl’s, Alameda High grad Mike Panagakis stated the closure of Pearl’s was “very abrupt for me and for all of the employees at Pearl’s.” However, he did clarify that he and his co-workers understood the owner’s need to close the doors in such difficult economic times.
Panagakis also reaffirmed the suspicion that the restaurant closed as a result of the food trucks, claiming that “every Saturday they [the food trucks] were there we definitely saw a drop in sales.” Although Panagakis noted that a restaurant’s sales cannot entirely depend on one day, he said that the majority of Pearl’s revenue was generated from Saturday afternoons.
Before the food trucks had begun to sell food to South Shore customers every Saturday, Pearl’s “was doing fine,” according to Panagakis, who said that though the owner had not seen quite the numbers he had wanted that he had expected them to grow over time, as the restaurant gained more popularity in the area. Unfortunately, the dent in Saturday sales made this rise in revenue impossible.
Despite the closure of Pearl’s, the food trucks appear to have brought an increase in business to some of the retail businesses at South Shore, certainly a much-needed boost in the local economy. Although the closing of Pearl’s has certainly led to many dismayed customers, as well as disappointed, but understanding, newly jobless employees, the restaurant does have two other Bay Area locations.