Restaurant workers left their bosses with some food for thought recently when they quit en masse. Employees of the Barberitos in Macon, Georgia, walked off the job in protest earlier this week. They left a sign on the door that said management had forced them to work seven days a week for the past month.
Someone posted a photo of the note on Facebook, where it went viral. The sign says they felt unappreciated, underpaid, and overworked.
But the store’s owners say that wasn’t the case.
A spokesperson for that Barberitos restaurant told WGXA that the claims in the sign were “not true.”
The chain claims that the coronavirus has hit the restaurant industry hard, and another Macon restaurateur recently hired six of their employees.
“While we are saddened whenever an employee leaves the Barberitos family, we understand that the marketplace has changed and thank them for their service,” a spokesman said in a statement to WGXA.
The store removed the sign the former employees hung and replaced it with a help wanted poster. The Barberitos location said it would operate on limited hours for the rest of the week. But management hoped to staff the store back up and return to normal hours next week.
COVID-19 has plagued the United States for more than a year, forcing companies to lean on the employees that remained on the payroll. Some restaurants have even started using robots to fill in for workers.
But mass walkouts have happened before.
Family Dollar Employees Post Sign Saying ‘We All Quit’
For instance, last month the employees at a Lincoln, Nebraska Family Dollar walked off the job, leaving behind a note that read: “We all quit! Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Breanna Faeller, the store’s assistant manager, said most of the staff quit when the pandemic hit, she told Fox Business. This increased the workload on the rest of the staff.
“The working conditions were so bad because it was a never-ending cycle of trying to play catch up with everything,” she said. “We had five employees, max, at all times. You can’t run a whole store with five employees.”
She said they struggled to hire new staff. The pay was low and the hours were long.
“We couldn’t keep any cashiers hired because they only made $10 an hour and it definitely wasn’t worth the pay for everything we had to expect them to do,” Faeller said. “They are only supposed to work up to 20 hours a week and they were working 35-40.”
So, after weeks of struggling to keep the store operating with a skeleton crew, Faeller said she and the last remaining cashier walked. They left the note on the door on their way out.
“I had no more stress wondering if I was going to be the only one working that day,” she said. “I felt horrible at the same time, I had a lot of regular customers that I enjoyed talking to every day but I just couldn’t do it anymore.”
Dollar Tree, which owns Family Dollar, wouldn’t comment on the employees’ actions but told Fox News that the store was back up and running the next day.