It looks like a soup chain with two words for healthy in its name might be a little bit under the weather.
Hale and Hearty Soups abruptly closed all 16 of its stores without warning on July 1. The New York City-based restaurant chain, which opened in 1995 on 64th Street and Lexington Avenue before beginning an expansion in 1997, now has a sign on each of its entrances reading the same message.
"We will be closing all stores temporarily as of today July 1, 2022," reads the note written by Hale and Hearty management. "Thank you for all your business and see you soon!”
According to the New York Post, who first broke the story, Hale and Hearty still has “We are hiring!” signs still hanging in its window alongside the mysterious note of its closing. Attempts to contact Hale and Hearty were not immediately returned, and a contact form for the company appears to be disabled.
Hale and Hearty has suffered from downscaling due to COVID-19-related loss of traffic to its stores, which largely operate as a lunch option for office workers.
In addition, Hale and Hearty has been sued more than once in the past few years: One branch at 111 Fulton Street was recently sued by Dairyland USA in June for nearly $160,000 in unpaid invoices. Additionally, other H&H locations were sued for $390,000, $440,000 and $600,000 by three separate landlords for unpaid rent.
Additionally, H&H employees have brought suit against the chain: In 2021, the company was sued for neglecting to pay some employees over $54,000 in Worker’s Compensation they claim to be owed. We also reached out to attorney Craig Feldman with Paris Ackerman LLP, who is listed as representing Hale and Hearty, but haven’t heard back.
Restaurants at large have suffered greatly since the beginning of the pandemic, and one report in 2021 from The National Restaurant Association found that restaurant and food service sales were $240 billion below 2020 pre-pandemic forecasts.
Restaurants which cater to the office set have particularly suffered since the beginning of the pandemic with more and more full-time workers working remotely, losing much of the traffic that keep those businesses, well, hale and hearty.