Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another view of restaurant closings

The top story of this week’s Nation’s Restaurant News deals with the wholesale closing of restaurants by a number of big chains. The article is a solid business article, a hardnosed look at the qualified opportunities those shutdowns are posing for growth-minded operators.

But one of The Scoop’s readers wanted us to be aware there’s another side to the situation. Here’s her communication, edited a bit for clarity. The identity of the chain involved is obscured because we’d be unfair to blast it without giving the operation a chance to respond. Normally we’d do that, but I fear the employee would somehow be implicated and might certainly lose her job. So the purported culprit is not revealed. But you get the idea.

Dear Peter,

I know that you don't know me or anything, but I have got to say this. I am an employee for [a family-oriented chain] here in [the Southeast], and I have already been through one store closing back in 2007. [My situation now] goes to show how a really big company really could care less for their employees. They don't know what we go through to make our customers happy. They told us they could make more money off the building alone than what we were bringing in on sales. Well, guess what? That building is up for sale.

The restaurant was great. Yea, some of the [other units in the chain] had their good and bad days, [but] lots of people were disappointed with the closing.

We all here are worried about losing our jobs now just because of the way the company treats us.

Thank you for listening to me. We need all the help we can get.

Keep an eye out for a story in next week’s NRN. It deals with how prospective hires are picking restaurant jobs on the basis of the employer’s reputation and perceived culture, not the wages it offers. And that’s true for management personnel as well as hourlies.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm, at the end of the day the restaurant's primary reason for it's existence is to make money for it's investors. If they can't make money, they have to close down. The letter you published seems to ignore a basic fact - restaurants are not community support centers. They are businesses and as difficult as it is to go through a closing, the writer would be much better off if they realize it's not something personal but rather a cold hard business decision.

August 19, 2008 at 6:04 AM  

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