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Big changes coming to Tallahassee restaurant scene

Shifting cultures and what it means for the future
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Posted at 11:22 PM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 07:33:42-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Chains like Raising Canes and Fazoli's are coming to town during a time when we're seeing more local restaurants call it quits.

"More chains can come to the city but local businesses do also make the city what it is."

Nick and his friends Aushjua and Biverlie are all students in Tallahassee.

"I'm very excited about some of the restaurants coming."

They are embracing the change that's coming to the local restaurant scene.

"It'll be nice to have a mix of both of them."

The latest restaurants to close down; La Fiesta on Apalachee Parkway and Lindy's Chicken on North Monroe Street.

"It's getting harder and harder for restaurants with full-service dining experiences to survive."

Drew McLeod is the President of the Tallahassee Chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. He said the community has seen several local restaurants shutter due to COVID, but now he believes this new wave of closures is a result of labor issues and inflation.

"I think the model changes... you go maybe more towards the fast-casual where there aren't tipped employees, you can control labor a little differently, and get as much done in terms of volume to meet that need."

McLeod says larger operations clearly see value in coming to the area. He thinks more locals will hop onto established franchises and bring them here since they're proven to be profitable in other markets.

"I still think that the independents bring a unique experience for the community and I'd like to continue to see that trend develop."

Lindy's Chicken on North Monroe Street has already shut down permanently and sold its property to Chick-Fil-A, who is using the property to expand their existing property next door. La Fiesta's final day open will be April 30.

Another restaurant chain that might be on the way to Tallahassee — is the North Carolina-based franchise, Cook Out.

Wawa also plans to open its stores in the Big Bend and in the Panhandle by 2024.