Seattle-based Blue C Sushi, whose parent company is Madison Holdings Inc., abruptly closed seven restaurant locations in Seattle and Southern California this week, according to various media reports.
On Jan. 7 and 8, angry customers posted pictures on Twitter of locked doors, closure signs and eviction notices. At a store in Seattle, where the company operated most of its conveyor belt sushi restaurants, an eviction notice posted on the door said the landlord was owed nearly $36,000 in rent.
Madison Holdings could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Madison Holdings told Eater Seattle that “unexpected financial and other circumstances” were the reason for the closures.
“We have had so much fun along the way while creating deep, lasting friendships with our community,” Madison told Eater. “We thank everyone for their years of patronage and wish everyone all the very best.”
The company told employees to pick up their final paychecks later this week at various Starbucks locations near Blue C, according to the Eater report.
The Seattle Times said Madison Holdings “had a history of falling behind on its taxes, owing $194,957 as recently as 2016.”
Blue C Sushi opened its first restaurant in 2003. Chefs prepared the sushi in front of guests and circulated the sushi rolls on a conveyor belt. Diners are charged according to the color and number of plates they amass.
At the time, the company used barcode tags on plates and scanners to track when a plate moved on and off the conveyor belt. This was done to monitor product-holding times, or freshness, which is critical to the enjoyment of sushi and a factor watched closely by the health department.
Later on, the brand switched to radio frequency identification, or RFID, to track sushi plates on the conveyor belt.
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