Mission Dogs closes East Austin restaurant, will continue as mobile operation
One of the tasty cart-to-restaurant success stories of the Austin food world has closed its most recent chapter. Mission Dogs, which served great bacon-wrapped hot dogs with globally inspired flavors, announced in January that it had closed after six years at 1701 E. Cesar Chavez St.
Owner Mike Farley, who operated the business as a food cart for about three years before opening in East Austin, in a social media post pointed to increased prices for goods, the inability to compete with the wages and benefits at corporate-backed restaurants and a rent increase, all combining to make the restaurant's future untenable. He added that Mission Dogs would continue as a mobile operation and said folks can follow Mission's social media for updates on locations.
Farley's note about prices was illustrative for an industry that, like many, has been hampered by costs. He pointed out that a container of fryer oil that a year ago cost about $17 had risen to about $50. Prices of to-go containers almost doubled. These types of increases make it challenging to run a financially viable business in an industry already infamous for slim margins.
Those costs were accompanied by a rent increase at the beginning of the year of 32%, according to Farley, who like many restaurant owners has struggled to attract and retain employees during the pandemic.
"These factors happening simultaneously have backed us into a corner with very few options," Farley wrote. "Our menu prices can’t realistically be increased enough to cover all of these factors. We don’t have enough time to wait for a return on implementing new items/specials/marketing strategies. Taking out loans would be only a band aid not a solution. Working over 80 hours a week for the past 6 years has taken its toll on me physically and mentally. It’s time to take a break and focus on the mobile side of the business. If the right opportunity presented itself, I would consider doing another brick and mortar. But for now, I’m going to take this opportunity to get some rest."