Charlotte, NC - With only two weeks to go before Christmas, several former employees of a popular, local restaurant say they are without jobs after they were told the establishment was shutting it doors.
"Our biggest issue is it's two weeks before Christmas, everybody needs a little extra cash in their pockets,” said Timothy Thomas, a former employee at IOS Greek Kitchen.
Thomas says he and 22 other employees at were approached by one of the restaurant’s operating partners Friday and told they were no longer employed.
"After that, she explained we were indeed closing the restaurant and that she would call us all by Monday afternoon to let us know if there are positions available at our sister company and try to get us replaced with jobs,” said Thomas.
But when employees stopped by the restaurant the next day, they tell us they were greeted by a sign on the door.
"There was a sign posted that said that we would be open starting Monday, only for lunch and catering,” said Thomas. “And those were our holiday hours. And they would be open full time again February."
Obviously surprised, Thomas says some staff members started asking questions.
According to a statement issued by Chelsea Kern, one of the restaurants operating partners, the message was delivered intentionally.
Kern said, ”The building was closed under the impression that it was not going to re-open for business. And, ”Unfortunately, when having to make decisions that will be most beneficial for the business, perception for staff and neighboring businesses can be horribly skewed."
Thomas and other staff members say they understand business decisions can be tough, but they wish the restaurant had been more considerate of timing and given them more warning.
"I myself have to pay rent,” said Thomas. “It’s slow season for restaurants; not a lot of restaurants are hiring this time of year. And as a line cook, it's going to be really difficult for me to replace my job immediately."
The restaurant has since offered 14 people their jobs back. Kern said they will be spending the next couple months working to identify the issues that have held their business back from reaching its full potential.
Here is Kerns’ full statement:
On Friday 12.11.15 IOS Greek Kitchen was closed for business at approximately 6:00 PM. The business was closed for the remainder of the weekend. The building was closed under the impression that it was not going to re-open for business. The message was delivered in this way intentionally. Unfortunately, when having to make decisions that will be most beneficial for the business, perception for staff and neighboring businesses can be horribly skewed. I have done everything to the best of my ability to connect with those who have been misinformed or miscommunication to.
IOS Greek Kitchen employed approximately 18 staff members. On Friday I was able to thank many of the employees for their dedication as I promised to reach out to them by Monday for continued employment opportunities within the company.
I attempted contact with 14 Employees. I received confirmation from 10 employees that are interested in continued employment. Some employees were not available for contact and two employees had professionally submitted a 2 weeks notice. Two employees will not have the opportunity for continued or future employment opportunities with the company due to Misconduct and Harassment.
My partner has been very generous to this community and with his support I have been able to provide opportunities for many people. I take serious pride in developing those people into dedicated and well respected staff.
Over the next few months we hope to identify the issues that have held our business back from reaching its full potential. During this time IOS Greek Kitchen will be open Monday-Friday during lunch and throughout the evening on the weekends. IOS offers catering and private space affordable and approachable for everyone. We are excited to host events and entertain families, friends and neighbors for all occasions while we make improvements to our business. We have 8 more years remaining under contract at the Epicentre. We plan on building great relationships as we develop a successful brand supported by dedicated employees who take as much pride in our business as we do.