The owner of Ben’s Kosher Deli announced plans to “step back” from the business after nearly 50 years.
In a letter posted on the restaurant’s website earlier this month, Ronnie Dragoon reflected on his decision to retire from the company that he’s owned since 1972 and said he wishes for Ben’s to continue under new ownership.
“It’s hard to give up on what one has been doing for over 47 years and doing it with love, passion, and dedication and proud of what I was able to accomplish…but the restaurant business is getting more difficult to navigate and the labor market is ever shrinking with less loyalty and caring,” Dragoon wrote in the letter.
Dragoon opened the first Ben’s Deli location in Baldwin, Long Island, in 1972. Since then, the restaurateur opened several other establishments across Long Island, New York City and Florida.
In the letter, the owner said that he employs approximately 300 individuals in his stores.
Ben’s Deli at The Bay Terrace shopping center opened in 1994 and underwent renovations in 2017, which included an updated kitchen, bathrooms and furniture.
“I need to exhale and smell the fresh air of spring and fall, the heat of summer and the cold of winter, enjoy our grandchildren and my wife, who worked along side of me for 44 of my 47 years in business,” said Dragoon.
He went on to say that following his retirement, he intends to pick someone to take over his longtime brand, though he has not yet decided whether he will pass it on to a staff member or an “outside entity.”
“Of one thing I am certain. I want Ben’s to continue. So to whomever I entrust [in] the future, I would want them to keep the tradition alive. Of course I will always be a part of Ben’s to my last days, just not working behind the counter or wearing my working whites with my red suspenders!” he wrote.