Last year a new Thai restaurant opened in a small space that has housed numerous previous failed hospitality businesses next to the petrol station on Johnston St. It immediately began selling vouchers to drive brisk trade and kept on pushing the implausible offers regardless of the bad reviews they received. They seemed indifferent.

Now, less than a year after opening, they have closed. Its last Facebook post is from January 29. On Feb 1 someone who seems to be the owner comments on their Facebook page that their phone system is playing up and they are uncontactable. That sounds suspicious. A week later a customer comments that the phone seems disconnected. A commenter on a review site says he arrived for a Valentine’s Day booking on February 14 to find the restaurant closed and empty. He had received no warning or notification from the restaurant or the voucher company.

This suggests to me that they continued to trade and sell vouchers when they shouldn’t have. Were they trading while insolvent? Selling vouchers when you know you’re in trouble could be like a pyramid scheme. Collect the money and run. In hindsight, it seems like a scam from the beginning. If your conscious actions create an instant negative reputation, are you really planning to stick around for long?

chillililiclosed Chilli Lili has closed

Chilli Lili has closed

11 thoughts on “Chilli Lili has closed

  • 13 March 2015 at 9:08 am
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    What do you think would work there?

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    • 13 March 2015 at 10:17 am
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      It’s possible that nothing will work there. There is no logical reason for this, but the psychology of how we use use and negotiate space is complex and this space is evidently one that people want to pass by, not stop at.

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  • 15 March 2015 at 12:37 am
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    It’s a perfect spatial storm. A combination of its position on a busy road with narrow footpaths, its south-facing aspect, proximity to a very busy intersection, juxtaposition with an out-of-scale pub, and outlook onto the rear car-park of the sevvo.

    (If you could fence off the rear of the 7-11 car park I think that would visually seal a little bit of that corner, help contain it…)

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  • 15 March 2015 at 10:09 am
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    While the location isn’t ideal (nice view of the petrol station) it was the food that was the main problem. Bland, inauthentic take on thai food, without any of the pluses you might expect from a “fusion” restaurant.

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    • 15 March 2015 at 11:32 am
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      The bigger picture is that everything has failed there. There are probably related characteristics of this situation. For example, the site has poor visual appeal, so the rent is probably lower than other places, which in turn attracts less skilled or experienced business operators who could not afford a better location. Inexperienced operators take a risk on a poor location and fail. Over and over again…

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  • 15 March 2015 at 12:55 pm
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    It might work as a florist, perhaps?

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  • 16 March 2015 at 7:55 am
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    How about another burger or meatball place? They seem to be able to defy ordinary market economics around here.

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    • 16 March 2015 at 11:15 am
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      This is a thing that baffles me. Grill’d did close though, but that may be more about it being a a chain. Mr Burger is a franchise too and I doubt their longevity. Amigos failed too mostly due to it being a generic brand rather than a unique experience. Which is why Hecho en Mexico seems to be doing better in the old Amigos space than Amigos ever did.

      Reply

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