Just after 5 p.m. on Sunday evening, Y-not Pizza & Wings owner Tony Lane posted a message on Facebook announcing that the restaurant would be closed until further notice.
“We have some issues to get through before reopening,” the post read. “We will keep you up to date on our reopening. Thank you all and look forward to seeing you all again real soon.”
Comments began to come in voicing disappointment with the news of the restaurant’s closing.
Lane said he had been out of town for most of the week and returned to a call from a customer that their party of 16 had arrived at the store to find the building closed.
“That’s not the image I want in this town,” Lane said. “We have one business, I want this one to be successful as well.”
According to Lane, his son-in-law and co-owner Michael Edwards, the reason Lane started the business back in December, made the choice to lock the restaurant early and leave for the day.
“My first initial thoughts were to close it down and say forget it because I started this business because of my son-in-law,” Lane said. “But I have received so many phone calls asking us to stay open. All over Facebook people are texting and offering to work and help out.”
Edwards said he did close at 9 p.m. on Saturday evening after the restaurant had gone two hours without any orders in order to cut back on staffing. He then said a customer must have reached out to Lane after not being able to place an order, causing Lane to call Edwards and other staff members.
Edwards said when he arranged to speak with General Manager Robert Baird the next morning about the situation, he was informed that Lane would be coming in to fire the employees. As a result, Edwards said he also lost his Facebook access and his iPhone had been shut off.
“I think he was acting out of emotion at the time,” Edwards said. “I don’t want to talk badly about Tony, he’s helped us out so much. He is a good person at heart. I’m still kind of in shock — I don’t really know how to feel. He has to realize he has really messed up a lot of people’s lives.”
Lane hopes to reopen the restaurant, but the majority of the staff made the transition with Edwards from Morehead, Ky. when the two made the decision to open the pizzeria in the former Diane’s Bakery location.
“The bad thing is that everybody that came here came with my son-in-law from Morehead,” Lane said. “The only problems we had were mismanagement on the financial side. We knew that he was overstaffed and I was working with him on getting costs down. I don’t know what all happened, but today they closed down when there were people scheduled to be there. Now I’ve got to restaff and start all that over.”
Edwards said he too is uncertain how things got to this point.
“Everything was going fine at first — then we get going and realize the money’s not the way it should be,” Edwards said, adding that he focused on food costs, not payroll and was relying on Lane to train him on that aspect of the business.
“As far as the business thing, he is right about that,” Edwards said. “I do know how to run a pizza business. I paid my employees and I paid the bills. I did everything I could without putting my employees at risk and here we are. Three different families moved with me and sacrificed everything. We all moved up here and put so much time into this and I haven’t gotten paid since November.”
Edwards is referring to the agreement that he had with Lane that, as co-owner, Edwards would be paid off of the restaurant’s profits. Edwards said the “the first few months we were dead even,” but the last few months “we haven’t made any.”
As far as a timeline for when Y-not will reopen, Lane said it depends on staffing.
“It all depends on how fast I can get people in there to do what needs to be done and do it the way I want it done,” Lane said. “I’m hoping with the responses I’m getting, a couple of weeks.
We have the food and resources, just have to have people in there that know what they’re doing and do it correctly. We are going to be looking for anyone with management and pizza experience.”
Lane said, overall, he is disappointed by what took place because the customers seemed really happy with the business.
“For people to like it as much as they have — our Facebook likes went over 1,800 while we were out of town. People like the food, I just don’t know what happened. When you lose one team member [it’s tough], but when you lose the whole team — it’s rough.”
Edwards agrees that Y-not really had something special going and was happy with the product the restaurant was producing, he is just concerned about the staff that took the leap of faith from Morehead with him.
“It’s really disappointing — I had such high hopes,” Edwards said. “This was a dream of mine that has slightly turned into a nightmare. I don’t want the rest of these guys to suffer because of the decisions Tony and I have made.”
As far as the Y-Not A Weekday Cruise-In scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 from 5-8 p.m., Lane said he is currently discussing the event with the Sunset Cruisers.
“We will make a definite decision tomorrow whether or not to have it,” Lane said, adding that he does not want to let anyone down, but that if they still held the event Tuesday it would have to be cars only, as there’s no way he could produce food.
Lane encourages anyone with pizza or managerial experience to reach out to him via Facebook or by phone (270) 500-4119.
* Editor’s note: This article has been changed to reflect the accounts of both owners.