The costs involved with running a restaurant in New York City have never been more daunting. Even for a stalwart of the fine-dining breed, labor costs can undue profitability. And when a union is involved, the costs can become insurmountable.
Georges Briguer, who has owned the old-school French institution since 1966, has closed Le Perigord as he has not been able to reach terms with the restaurant union, Local 100. The owner and the union had negotiated for four months to no avail. Now, legally, closing and reopening as a new business is Mr. Briguer’s path forward. According to the owner, “We would have to increase the price of the dinner too much…we have no choice,” in order to meet the new deal that would have required an additional $80 per day, per employee–about $12,000 per week–to cover the additional healthcare and pension requests.
In six months, the restaurant at 405 East 52nd will turn the lights back on under a new name: Restaurant 405. Le Perigord, which once served neighborhood regulars and celebrities such as Truman Capote and Donald Trump alike, will be a memory. The revised restaurant will have a new menu, but the owner hopes to rehire his staff, sans union.
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