Layoffs have, unfortunately, been commonplace in the battered NYC restaurant industry in recent weeks as restaurants and bars were ordered to close except for takeout or delivery during the COVID-19 crisis.
For example, Danny Meter's Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), one of the city’s most prominent restaurant companies with 20 eateries, laid off a reported 2,000 employees. (Meyer did announce that he was forgoing his compensation and donating it to a relief fund for all USHG employees.)
Countless other restaurants have followed suit with layoffs. Last Thursday, employees of the B Bar & Grill on the Bowery at Fourth Street learned that they had been terminated, effectively immediately. There wasn't any extension of benefits or offer of severance pay.
One of the now-unemployed B Bar staffers shared the letter sent to employees, and signed by owner Eric Goode, that provides insights into how some of the city's restaurant staffers have been blindsided by layoffs in recent weeks ...
[Click to go big]
The letter reads in part:
This unquestionably is the most difficult time in all our lives. The severity of this crisis has put our business and community in an uncharted territory. We regret that this action is necessary and hope that this layoff will be temporary. While we do not know how long this layoff will last, we hope and expect it will be less than six months. You will be provided with COBRA information under separate cover (if you had insurance through garden café associates). Please note that your compensation and benefits from the Company shall cease as of the Layoff Date, March 26, 2020.
The suspension of operations has had a direct and immediate impact on our B Bar family. With most our staff currently without jobs, we plan to do what many in the hospitality industry are already doing and take immediate action with an appeal to our communities to help raise funds that will help our staff in the interim. More information to follow.
Per the former employee:
Eric Goode responded to employee pleas for two weeks paid leave with very little - some directions about how to apply for unemployment and a "yours truly" sign off. This termination without pay was sudden and decisive, leaving many of the staff left with nothing to feed their families. Many of these staff members have worked at 20-plus years. Mr. Goode is currently living on his multimillion dollar ranch in California.
Goode has been enjoying positive press in recent weeks for his role as the co-director and co-writer (along with Rebecca Chaiklin) of "Tiger King," the hit docuseries that recently debuted on Netflix.
Meanwhile, as reported last fall, CB Developers paid $59.5 million for a stake in 358 Bowery — the home of the B Bar & Grill since 1994. Goode, who owns a handful of hotels including the Bowery Hotel, has been assembling air rights to build a larger project on this corner space.
According to the ex-employee: "We're closing for good in August. They said they were going to let us know two-three months in advance before the final closing date, however."
Previously on EV Grieve:
CB Developers pay $59.5 million for an interest in 358 Bowery — current home of the B Bar & Grill and likely a new development