Burger King closes months before expected

Burger King closes months before expected

Signs put on the doors of Greenville’s Burger King inform customers of its permanent closing last Thursday. Employees will continue working for the company in Centredale, and the building will be demolished to create a Chase Bank. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SMITHFIELD – Burger King manager Beth Vincent said there was no warning ahead of the abrupt closure of the restaurant last Thursday, when she discovered her place of employment for the last 24 years would be permanently closing.

Burger King did offer Vincent and all other employees at the Greenville location, 438 Putnam Pike, jobs at nearby stores. The majority landed at the Burger King at 458 Smithfield Ave. in Providence, “just a few miles down the road,” Vincent said.

Vincent said she showed up to her shift at 6 a.m. on March 5 to be informed by the corporate office that the fast-food restaurant chain would be closing its doors permanently.

She said she thought of all of the regular customers who had eaten at the restaurant over the years, including some groups that meet in the morning nearly every day.

“I didn’t see any of my customers,” she said. “I didn’t want them to think that we abandoned them.”

She and other employees posted signs on the windows letting customers know that the store was closed, then sent a note to The Valley Breeze & Observer about the situation.

Vincent said rumors circulated within the store for several months, culminating in a meeting with corporate officials where staff was assured that any closure would occur after the summer.

A story in The Observer on Feb. 12 confirmed employees’ concerns that a plan for a Chase Bank at that location was moving forward.

“We knew when we were going to close, and we would still have jobs with the company, but at the end of summer or by the end of the year,” Vincent said.

Plans from Jan Corp. call for razing the 4,682-square-foot restaurant and building a smaller, 3,470-square-foot Chase Bank on the 1.21-acre site. The standalone building will feature a freestanding kiosk at the west of the building.

Town Manager Randy Rossi said he was just as surprised as Burger King employees to learn of its sudden closure.

“I knew it was coming, but for all of a sudden to say we’re closed was kind of a surprise,” he said.

Rossi pointed out that two other nearby Burger King locations, one on Mineral Spring Avenue in North Providence and one on Pontiac Avenue in Cranston, also recently closed.

The North Providence location has drawn interest from other restaurant developers.

In May of last year, Burger King announced it would close its less profitable locations to boost long-term sales. Restaurant Business Online reported that the chain planned to close low-volume restaurants when franchise agreements came due.

Burger King plans on building new restaurants featuring digital menu boards, spaces for mobile ordering, and self-order kiosks.

Jan Corporation and Burger King could not be reached for comment.