After almost four years in the restaurant business, the OSS restaurant on Regent Street closed after hours Saturday.
According to The Cap Times, the restaurant, which opened in February 2014, was known for their sausage menu with bratwurst, polish sausage and all-beef hot dogs.
The Cap Times also reported that OSS restaurant was known for their name, which was intentionally vague. Owners and brothers, Tyler and Chris Soukup, came up with many variations for what it could mean, such as “Our Sausage Shop,” “One Stop Sausage” and “Only Serving Sausage.”
But OSS is only one of the many restaurants to recently close in Madison. Between the closing of Sofia’s Bakery & Café and Granite City suddenly going out of business within the last month, the city of Madison is currently seeing a dramatic change in businesses.
Noah Williams, a University of Wisconsin economics professor, said the restaurant business is “ever-changing.”
“Restaurants are very volatile and turn over quite frequently. There’s a chance that any individual restaurant will go under, and generally within a year,” Williams said.
According to an article from the Wisconsin State Journal, this specialization problem may have been one of the driving factors in the closing of the OSS restaurant.
In the article, Tyler Soukup said one weakness in their restaurant was their niche-only serving sausages and cheese.
Along with a lot of turnover, the restaurant industry is also very specialized and sometimes unpredictable, Williams said. There are a lot of trends following the industry that come and go quickly, he added.
People are tending to order in for food service, which can negatively affect businesses who do not offer ordering services, Williams said.
Williams said some consequences to the failure or closing of restaurants, including unemployment and potential decrease in property value.
“There would also be an impact on the spending — people would go to different places, there would be a slight reduction in economic activity, as many of the people would choose to go elsewhere, but others would choose to just not spend the money,” Williams said.
Similar to OSS, State Street Brats has a very central focus: Their brats. State Street Brats has been in business since 1952 when they opened as the Brathaus, popular with students from the start.
Seph Blackstone, the general manager of State Street Brats, said it has been a very successful football season for them since they tend to gain good business when the Badgers are playing well. Blackstone also attributes their success to their owner.
“The owner has done a very good job establishing Brats as ‘The Place to Meet’,” Blackstone said. “We also get a lot of alumni on game day which shows our popularity throughout generations.”
Because they have been on State Street for so long, State Street Brats has seen many changes in their business as well as changes in Madison as a whole.
Blackstone said many businesses will open up along the first floor of new apartment complexes because of recent construction in Madison.
“This [construction] opens up more choices for both customers and employers, which makes it harder for us to keep customers coming here,” Blackstone said.
Although Blackstone realizes the business has changed over the years, he believes their foundation is what will keep them in business for years to come.
Blackstone believes with the support of alumni and current students they can, however, stay in business.
“When it comes down to it, we’re a place that sells brats and beer, and that’s what has kept us in business for so long, and it’s what we still try to do,” Blackstone said.