Loyalty Program Members Burned By Sudden Restaurant Closings

embers of the loyalty program of a popular restaurant chain which suddenly closed earlier today without any warning or advance notice whatsoever were left with unused point balances in their accounts and gift cards which suddenly became valueless.

Here To Serve Restaurants — which had been in continuous operation since 1996 — suddenly closed their ten restaurants in the Atlanta metropolitan area earlier today; but the reasons as to why the sudden closures occurred have not been disclosed at this time.

No news has been announced at the official Internet web site of the restaurant group other than this quasi-euphemistic statement:

We apologize for the inconvenience, we are working on reorganization. Hopefully we will be HERE TO SERVE you again soon!

One of the affected restaurants is Prime, which is a steak and sushi restaurant located in Lenox Mall in Atlanta that was popular amongst FlyerTalk members.

H2SR Loyalty Card — the loyalty program was once known as Friend of Tom’s, named after founder and chef Tom Catherall — offered the following exclusive benefits:

  • 10 percent off at any Here to Serve restaurant
  • 15 percent off for the entire calendar month of your birthday
  • A point for every dollar spent; each 500 points = a discount of $15.00
  • Other exclusive offers and promotions through a weekly newsletter

 

The loyalty program also used to offer discounts on gift cards on special occasions — such as during the Christmas holiday season, for example — where if you purchased a gift card at regular price, you would receive a complimentary promotional gift card with a certain value. That value was as much as 100 percent of the purchase price of the regular gift card, which was potentially a good deal…

…but not now to those holders of gift cards that still had outstanding balances, which suddenly have no value; and in the process of reorganization, gift card holders would most likely have the least priority of ever recouping their money.

Hundreds of employees are now searching for jobs at other restaurants through multiple channels — including this Facebook Internet web site which had been established primarily for those now-displaced employees.

When an airline ceases operations, it is typically absorbed by another airline; and the acquiring airline usually honors the value of the frequent flier loyalty program of the defunct airline, usually rendering little to no risk to its members.

Sadly, that is not the case in this situation — at least at this time…

Source: Here To Serve Restaurants.

8 thoughts on “Loyalty Program Members Burned By Sudden Restaurant Closings”

  1. DavidB says:

    Obviously this frequent diner program didn’t generate enough business for the restaurants and thus the company has gone into bankruptcy protection. That’s the real world of running businesses. Unlike the airlines that have had huge investor groups and their bank lenders themselves to keep them afloat over those decades of actually losing money, most businesses don’t have that luxury when having to meet a payroll.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      It may not be that obvious, DavidB.

      There are reports that the source of the problems may be a result of a divorce between the founder and his wife — each alleging that the other did not run the business well. However, that is all hearsay with no substantiation — which is why I did not report on that aspect of the story.

      Reports allege that the restaurants apparently closed suddenly because Here To Serve lost its employee compensation insurance and therefore cannot open; but the fact that the employees were not informed suggests that there is more to this story.

      In other words: there is something fishy going on here — and it may not just be due to the fish which may be in storage at some of these restaurants…

  2. andrew kronitz says:

    I am one of the unfortunate holders of un-redeemed H2S gift cards…. several thousand dollars worth!
    I plan to file as an unsecured creditor once the corporation files bankruptcy. I’m assuming most holders won’t file same, though my attorney plans to request allocation from judge based on entire amount of un-redeemed gift card balances outstanding at time of mass closures.

    AK

    1. Lisa liaw says:

      AK, I have un used balance on my gift card, too. several hundred dollars. Can I join you for the law suit to get my money back?

      thanks

      Lisa Liaw

  3. Jipped John says:

    Dang, I’ve got a useless $50 gift card I planned on using tonight, but just found out that Prime in Atlanta has closed.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I am sorry to learn about your gift card, Jipped John — but there are other holders of those gift cards who suffered greater losses than you…

      …and I have found nothing pertaining to any recompense for gift card holders — so it appears that the plastic on which the gift card was printed is worth more than the gift card itself.

      I wish I could offer better news to you…

  4. Tamara Davis says:

    I’m one with gift cards purchased $3,600.00. This does not include the loyality program nor the Bonus $$$ when purchasing the gift cards. I continued to research Here to Serve , TOM Catherall, Leigh Catherall. Tom lead me to believe he would be reopening the restaurants ASAP. Well he opened TOM Toms and we visited. Soo disappointed in how he and his management responded to a gift card purchased from Here To Serve. He said “My ex got 3 million from me. We had guest at our table with separate checks ( therefore he would have got $$$ from them). His attitude lost not only us as Loyal clients( we live 1hour15 minutes north of any of Here To Serve Restaurants but enjoyed the atmosphere and servers) our remaining guest will never set foot in any of Toms venues. Tom was forced to rename Tom Toms for legal name belonging to Friends ofTom Here To Serve . For no other reason TOM should have accepted our gift card since he was operating under a Here To Serve name. Thanks TOM for screwing your LOYAL CLIENTS! YOU LEAD US TO BELIEVE YOU WOULD REOPEN ! Please remove me from your email list you took from Here To Serve.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I do not blame you for being angry, Tamara Davis — but the person with whom you should really be angry is Leigh Catherall.

      Here is her official Internet web site — along with a way to supposedly contact her:

      http://leighsmith-catherall.com

      She even has the nerve to proudly displays the logos she designed for some of the Here 2 Serve restaurants!

      I do wonder how many people got stuck with suddenly worthless gift cards — and what the total outstanding balance on them was…

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