Focus Brands laid off 136 workers from its corporate office in Atlanta, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
The move was effective March 27. The company, which also oversees Jamba, McAlister’s Deli, Auntie Anne’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Scholtzky’s, gave notice as required by the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), which mandates that employers report layoffs if the employment loss constitutes a “mass layoff” or “plant closing.”
“Regrettably, due to the sudden and significant loss of revenue from store closings, we have had to downsize our corporate team,” CEO Jim Holthouser said in a letter posted to the company’s website. “Because our team is like family, these decisions weigh heavily on our hearts. Corporate employees who have lost their jobs have been offered relief pay.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the brand created a relief pay policy to give support to employees at corporate stores who have been diagnosed with or exposed to the virus or work at a corporate store that is closed.
For franchisees, the company has granted fee waivers and deferrals to help operators cover expenses and meet payroll.
“Our goal with these measures is to strike a delicate but critical balance,” Holthouser said in the letter. “We’re doing everything in our power to take care of our customers, associates, and independent franchise business owners while also setting the stage for future recovery in our industry.”
Several restaurant companies have announced major furloughs or layoffs including Ruth’s Hospitality, Chuy’s Holdings, The ONE Group Hospitality, Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Landry’s, J. Alexander’s, Golden Corral, Luby’s, and CraftWorks Holdings.