Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rax Responds!!!!

A few weeks ago I visited the only remaining Rax restaurant in Indiana and had what I described as an extremely disappointing" experience. I talked about it HERE. While I can only assume that a few of you read this blog, I KNOW that many of you read this post because of the comments that I received. Many of us have memories of Rax. You can go back and read all of the comments, but I thought it was only fair to prominently display (as much as I can "prominently" do anything on a silly blog like this) the comments of one Perry Knox who actually owns the restaurant that I visited. Please read what he has to say and then I'll make a few remarks below:

My name is Perry Knox and I am the Owner/Operator of the Rax Restaurant in Anderson Indiana. I found your blog quite by accident while doing a search and was disappointed in your visit to our restaurant. After doing a little search on your blog, I came across a picture of your family (at the Spaghetti Factory) and noted that you are like myself a family man.

My Wife and I have operated this location since 1987 and work very hard to support our family of 4 children..3 of which are of similar ages to your children while our oldest is defending freedom in the US Armed Forces. I hope each day that I do not receive the phone call that every parent does not want to receive, but like most parents of service personnel, we concentrate on loving our families and understand that our children are supporting the very freedoms that allow the freedom of speech enjoyed by people like yourself and for example this Blog.

Being a franchised member of the Rax Restaurant chain, my wife and I have watched as corporate take-over and dispersal of assets have played its role in our lives. Even our downtown location has witnessed the evacuation of retail business to other parts of our city..closer to the interstate, nearer to the Walmart, etc. Still, we open our restaurant each day and greet our "regulars" who have watched our family grow and become an integral part of our community. I personally have volunteered many hours coaching children of varying economic and social backgrounds, while my wife faithfully donated her time to our church. But still, we are the Last Rax in Indiana.

Many of our employees have been here for years demonstrating the commitment our small business has to its employees and believe that we want to support those employees through the ups and downs of their lives as well.

I wanted to write to you to put a personal face on our restaurant. I took the picture that you copied from the Rax Website...I thought it may be a positive thing to do to help other Family Owned Rax Restaurants stay in business after the demise of our Corporate entity...I thought it would be a positive thing to do. This Restaurant is not a financial windfall as many may assume. Our family owns a modest home in a "transitional" neighborhood and I find myself doing more and more repairs personally each year.

I can only apologize for your poor visit that you received. I share your thoughts concerning the "old days" and wishing that things would remain as they were. We have struggled over the years keeping Logos on Cups, and maintaining a connection with the Rax Past, but we truly are a small business. You may have noticed the showcase in the Dining Room of Vintage Rax Memorabilia that we proudly display and discuss frequently with our Patrons. At one time, Rax had over 500 Restaurants and was voted America's Number One Sandwich Chain by Restaurants & Institutions Magazine.

I thought the comment that our Restaurant looked like it hadn't been cleaned since 2003 wasn't a nice thing to say, but that is Freedom of Speech. I would like to point out, however, that we post our Health Department Scores by the front cash register for review by our customers and this restaurant has received No Violations in the last 2 semi-annual inspections. We are proud of those scores. We did remodel the Dining Room in January 2008 including new Wall Coverings and Decor.

I do not share your opinion that perhaps we should be "gone completely" and I hope that day never comes. Our family puts more than just hours into this business and with the current state of the economy, we face new challenges each day. I am not so much worried for myself as I am the welfare of my children and our ability as parents to attend to their needs. As a father and a business owner, I try each day to make ends meet. Owning a Franchised Restaurant of a failed concept in a Downtown Area is a challenge enough some days.

I can only offer my sincere apologies for not maintaining those memories you have of the New Haven Rax.

Sincerely, Perry Knox
First off, I want to say, "Thanks," to Mr. Knox for taking the time to send the comment. It shows that he cares about his business, his brand and his reputation--that's just good business. While I don't have kids who are old enough to serve in the armed forces, I have a dear brother-in-law who just finished up 14 months of service in Iraq flying Chinook helicopters in very dangerous missions. I can only imagine what it's like for Perry. I, like you, have been a coach for a number of years and a number of sports. I'm a busy dad and my family is also committed to our church family.

I'm also sorry that I had a bad experience at Rax in Anderson. Maybe I just caught you on a bad day, but I'm 100% willing to come again the next time I'm in the area. In fact, I'll stop in on my way up to Ft. Wayne the next time I'm visiting family--and I'll bring my own family. I would encourage the rest of you Central Indiana folks to stop by as well. Personally, I'd love to see Rax come back. It will always hold a special place in my heart. Also, please forgive me for the tone of my remarks. I don't want Rax to disappear and the place was not dirty. It just looked...aged...and that's not bad.


Scott said...

You say Anderson, he says "New Haven Rax."
Are these two different restaurants?

Could there be more than one?

Now I'm feeling bad for the ugly remarks I made about the raw-chicken-dog-inside-restaurant from out trip to the Outer Banks. I will keep in mind that restaurant owners are people too.

Big Doofus said...

He mentioned "New Haven Rax" because that's the one I grew up with--where I used to work. It's an Arby's now.

The next review I'm going to write is about your blog. Look out!!!

Anonymous said...

Having been born and raised in Anderson, IN - I belong to the list of "frequent flyers" at the Rax Downtown. Our family moved away three years ago but still make it a point to stop in and see the same friendly people and get the same great service in a wonderful setting when we're in the area. Surely you experienced a fluke?

Perry (and Julie) have always taken incredible pride in their restaraunt and I know that their entire philosophy has been solely on customer satisfaction. I've never met anyone who is more conscientious and generous.

Rax is great place to stop by for a great meal. So I hope you'll stop by soon to give it another go, and perhaps our family will be there on the same day? Newburgh isn't all that far, but I'd drive much further for Rax. -

An aside: I can never thank the Knox family enough for the incredible community service they've generously given throughout the years, and in particular the hours upon hours of logging running miles with my young kids and other young kids and making them great runners and wonderful citizens. He drove countless miles taking young runners to meets around the state and country, he encouraged, challenged and otherwise inspired these kids to achieve. Some won State Championships then, some are achieving greatness now, and they owe it in large part to Perry - and Julie - for their sacrifice.


Randy said...


That is great that he responded. I remember though, we too, had a Rax nearby. During its final days, it had become run-down. I have some history in the food biz as I was a store manager for a major food chain many years ago. They always preached QSC. Quality, Service and Cleanliness. I find that many restaurants have lost that motto.

It's nice though that the man from Rax wrote you. That shows me someone that does "still" care. There are so many that don't.

Be well,


Momma said...

Well, heck! Between Julie's rave review and Mr. Knox taking the time to personally respond, my family and I just might have to have to stop by Rax on our way to OH in December.

I can relate to the nostalgic tone of Big Doofus'original post, and I can also appreciate his candid comments as well.

I hope Mr. Knox gets the chance to meet Mr. "Doofus" and his family, because I know that once he does, he will both like them and consider them very valued customers. They're good people too. ;)

Uvulapie said...

All Your Rax Are Belong To Us.

Take note: Roger worked for Rax. Down the tubes. He worked for K-Mart... closing stores left and right. Worked for WFCV, they now only play religious talk programs. Worked for Indiana Realtors Assocation, the housing market fell to pieces. Is that Mens Clothing store still around? If I worked at that frame grabber place I'd be brushing up my resume.

Big Doofus said...


You forgot to mention the fact that lately I've been working for Wall Street. Up next...I'm going to work for that company that makes all of the toilets!

scotty l said...

I miss the New Haven Rax. I loved me some BBC. Arby's just isn't the same.