BACK OF THE YARDS — Arrivederci, Leona’s.
The Italian-American restaurant franchise is selling its Southwest Side headquarters and commissary and moving into its East Village location at 1936 W. Augusta Blvd.
“What’ll happen is we have a 10,000-square-foot Leona’s restaurant in [East Village]. I call that a monument to my ego because nobody needs that. We’ll take some of that space and move production facility and offices there,” said CEO Leon Toia.
The moves, first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business, are part of a larger company downsizing that will close three of the franchise’s suburban locations and relocate its current Rogers Park location to a smaller outpost at 7435 N. Clark St.
Toia said the 30,000-square-foot building at 3931 S. Leavitt St. serves as a food production facility supplying the restaurant’s Chicago area franchises. Its upstairs contains offices for company officials.
“That facility could make food for a $100 million company. We’re a $20 million company,” he said.
All told, Leona’s employs about 500 people. The downsizing will “absolutely” mean layoffs, Toia said, estimating the company will shed about 100 employees.
The company will shift focus to its delivery and carry-out businesses, with its Hyde Park location, 1236 E. 53rd St., serving as a model.
"That works really nice. It’s a great equation for us," he said.