Oahu restaurant chain shuts down without warning

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A restaurant chain with three locations on Oahu shut down Wednesday night with no warning to its workers or customers.

GoKo restaurants is the former Sizzler restaurants that changed their name in May.

The closure came as a shock to the restaurants’ 100 workers who will now have to look for a new job.

Sales were slow and the owner decided to pull the plug Monday night.

At Goko Steak and Salad Bar Restaurant in Waipahu, it appeared to be business as usual, but for employees their day was far from normal.

“She called me and told me to pick up my last pay check, I said why and she said tonight is their last night – I said why,” GoKo employee Vera Canoy said.

All 44 employees at the Waipahu restaurant got the same bad news, and they were just as confused.

“Did you get any warning?” KHON2 asked.

“No, no warning,” Canoy said.

“We just found out four hours ago. We don’t know nothing,” GoKo assistant manager Ana Maravilla said.

Maravilla has worked here for 22 years.

She had no idea the restaurant was closing its doors for good Wednesday night.

“Now got to look for another job or file for unemployment,” Maravilla said.

The Waipahu location isn’t the only place to shut down. KHON2 learned the restaurants on Dillingham and in Pearlridge are also closing their doors.

None of the three restaurants were given any warning.

“When were employees notified?” KHON2 asked.

“This afternoon. Yes,” GoKo Enterprises owner Clinton Goo said.

Goo has owned the Sizzler restaurant chain in Hawaii since 2003.

In May, Goo re-branded under the new GoKo name, but he says it wasn’t enough to drive back business.

“We’ve created a good loyal customer base but the economy has been tough,” Goo said.

Goo says sales have slipped 40 percent from last year. He made the decision Tuesday night to shut down at the end of the month.

“That’s a difficult thing to do, we were trying to stay open as long as we could,” Goo said.

Employees knew sales were slow and the restaurant could close, but thought they would get a heads up before being let go.

“I was shocked because we had our grand opening last Friday. Today we’re going to shut down,” GoKo employee Evie Ortiz said.

The three restaurants also had to cancel and refund deposits for dozens of reservations booked through the end of the year.

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