Even though owner Joe Groh made the right move by rebranding Chink's Steaks into Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop, he's suffering from a serious decline in business since the name change. In a Daily News piece by noted curmudgeon Stu Bykofsky, Groh says his business was down 10% in June and 15% in July, which will ultimately lead to the layoff of several employees in an already tough economy.
The name change was a long time coming and earned the Wissinoming stalwart some serious media attention, but that didn't translate into more business. Even with all of the positive buzz the papers and blogs were bringing, scads of commenters and Tweeters vowed to never eat there again because Groh "caved to the PC police."
In reality, his economic downturn has nothing to do with a group of regulars fighting back against the PC Police, but spurning a business that felt it wasn't OK to cash in on casual racism and profit from it anymore. This isn't a man who forced female employees to wear low cut shirts or cash in on exploitation. No, this is a man who felt the quality of his business and place in the community could support a re-branding effort in 2013, whatever the reason.
In the piece, Bykofsky suggests that if 10% of the people who supported Groh's gamble would become part-time customers, all would be well. But, in the article, Groh goes on record to say he didn't really want to change the name after all, which is the worst thing he could do at this point.
The revelation that it truly was pressure which caused Groh to change Chink's name supports the outspoken folks who said he made the update for all of the wrong reasons, and it will drive away those who were happy to see him take positive steps for the future of his business. You did the right thing Joe, don't go back on that now.