Another one bites the dust.


Bob's Big Boy on Main Street in Hesperia, which has changed hands several times over the past decade, was closed without warning by its owner Wednesday.


Customers and employees were greeted Wednesday morning to notes taped to the front door by franchisee Arash "A.J." Behzadi, who blamed the lackluster economy for his decision.


"As you have seen over the years we have taken a hard hit due to the economic down-turn. We no longer can afford to keep this store open,"Behzadi wrote. "I wanted to thank you for the 2-1/2 years of service that you have given us at this store. Unfortunately keeping the doors open is no longer an option."


Behzadi opened the restaurant in early 2007 with a vision to offer high quality customer service and food. Customers, including families, began dining regularly at the the restaurant known for its famous double-decker Big Boy hamburger, he said Friday.


But Behzadi quickly learned that his entreprenuerial optimism wasn't enough to overcome a tough economic reality. With the economy already down, gasoline prices surged to record numbers last summer, which put a damper on the number of vehicles traveling the I-15.


"We rely on a lot on travelers. Our business started dropping a lot there."


Like other businesses on Main Street just west of the I-15, Behzadi hoped the opening of the Super Target across the street would bring customers for lunch and dinner. But while Target shoppers were looking for a good deal on goods, they apparently weren't in the mood to spend their money on a nearby meal.


"Pretty much we're a luxury item," he said.


Behzadi, 38, tried other ideas to bring in customers: A colorful display on the restaurant's front window touted free WIFI, a new senior menu and a $4.99 all-you-can-eat breakfast bar. Several community groups began using the restaurant's 25-seat conference room, which equated into additional sales.


But nothing could stop the decline in business. In all, sales dropped about 30 percent.


"You can't survive," Behzadi said. "I put all my life savings that my wife and I worked for for and put it in there. I basically ran out of capital. Unfortunately we've got to walk away from this, and that's what happened."


Behzadi said it was imperative that all of his 23 employees servers, cooks, dishwashers, support staff get paid, so he made sure he had enough money to pay them before closing. On Friday they came to the Big Boy parking lot to receive their final paychecks.


His customers also will be missed, he said.


"That's the hardest part. They [the customers] were almost family. All the employees saw them as family."


Behzadi, who said he learned "a hard lesson, an expensive lesson," expects a business person with greater capital will likely reopen the location as soon as this fall.


He also advises anyone wanting to buy a franchise or open a new business to not let their emotions overwhelm them. Specifically, he suggests they do ample research, even if it takes out-of-pocket funds to perform those studies.


"In the end it will save you a lot of money."


When asked what he's going to do next, Behzadi, who was in the computer industry prior to opening the Big Boy, said: "Go find a job."