Utah family-owned restaurant, The Training Table, closes after ongoing family dispute
(KUTV) It's the end of a cheese-fries era.
Utah icon The Training Table announced on Facebook Thursday that it has shuttered its doors -- but the details around its closing after nearly 40 years are somewhat of a mystery.
The local, family-owned and operated business posted around lunchtime that it stopped serving burgers, sandwiches and, most regrettably, its famous cheese fries and "Ultimate Dipping Sacue" on Nov. 30.
Hours after the initial post was made at 12:17 p.m., there has been no follow up response by the company. Since that time, hundreds have shared and commented and tagged their friends and family in the post and stated they hoped the post wasn't true.
KUTV has confirmed through Stephanie Chard's attorney, Erik A. Olson, that all locations of The Training Table have been closed.
“There has been an ongoing dispute between Stephanie Chard and Kent Chard, the two owners of The Training Table, and they have been unable to resolve their differences,” Olson told KUTV.
As a famous Utah original business, The Training Table was a place were a customer placed their order on a phone held inside each booth at the restaurant.
The business was founded in October of 1977 and was family-owned and operated by Kent Chard and his daughter, Stephanie Chard.
The Training Table was best known for its cheese fries and signature "Ultimate Dipping Sauce." They also served gourmet hamburgers and sandwiches.
Many customers on social media were surprised to hear the announcement of the restaurant chain closing.
"You could (have) given us notice so we could've gone before you closed," one person posted on Facebook.
Many did not expect the closing because the company announced it was hiring for its Sugar House location on Nov. 17.
"16 days ago you said you were hiring, and now you're closing your doors permanently?" asked one customer online.
Public records show the corporation applied in September to renew its business license in Utah.
On Nov. 14, a customer posted on its Facebook page asking why the Sugar House location was not open during normal business hours with no explanation as to why.
The Training Table posted a reply stating:
"We are not closing. We had some unexpected changes, but will be back to normal hours!"
A number of customer's posted that if the business was closing they wanted one thing -- the recipe to its ultimate dipping sauce.
Court records paint a different picture about the rift going on with the family-owned business. Stephanie Chard, who owns 50 percent of the company, is suing her father Kent Chard in a lawsuit filed in June in Third District Court alleging securities fraud and other legal malpractice claims associated with the corporation.
Stephanie Chard came on board in 2012 to help her aging father, who was no longer able to run the day to day operations of the business, according to court records.
In 2013, Kent Chard moved to Palm Springs, Calif. and had "salary payments, which were entirely disproportionate to any actual work he was providing, caused a serious financial strain on the company," court records state.
The complaint goes on to state, "Kent Chard has refused to participate in any meaningful way in assisting with Stephanie Chard’s efforts to maintain or increase the cash flow of the business, including without limitation efforts to secure the financing needed to make the business successful."
Whenever possible the food served was locally grown and raised to give customers not only a fresh meal, but also to help support the community's economy, according to the business' website.