ABRUPT CLO­SURE OF SUM­MER­SIDE RESTAU­RANT PUTS STAFF IN DARK

Pop­u­lar Sum­mer­side restau­rant abruptly closes

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DE­SIREE AN­STEY De­siree.an­[email protected]­nalpioneer.com

Em­ploy­ees at a pop­u­lar restau­rant in Sum­mer­side are job­less, con­fused, and an­gry after their pay cheques bounced and their em­ployer de­clared in a group Face­book mes­sage, “We are done.”

For­mer server Dani Sorel said things were be­gin­ning to turn sour be­fore she left Lo­cal 311 on Dec. 16, which abruptly locked its doors and turned off the lights on Fri­day.

“Job se­cu­rity is a big thing es­pe­cially in win­ter for servers, so I started look­ing around be­cause I had a gut feel­ing that things were not go­ing well for the restau­rant,” she said.

“We stopped or­der­ing from a big dis­tributer and went to pick­ing lit­tle things up at the gro­cery stores.”

Sorel ac­knowl­edged that her last pay cheque from own­ers Dave Ash­ford and MJ Doyle bounced, but was thank­ful to get it quickly rec­ti­fied.

“I feel in­cred­i­bly grate­ful that my sit­u­a­tion was swiftly dealt with, al­though I still have an­other pay cheque that I sub­mit­ted,” said Sorel, who started un­der the pre­vi­ous owner Billy MacK­endrick in April last year.

“I never had any is­sues work­ing with the for­mer own­ers,” con­tin­ued Sorel.

“Ev­ery­one I worked with and served were all great peo­ple. They were al­ways very kind to me and al­ways made sure our cheques came out and on time.”

Ash­ford and Doyle be­came the new own­ers of the restau­rant on Aug. 3. On the Lo­cal 311 Face­book page they state: “We prom­ise to al­ways do our best and not let you down.”

The Jour­nal Pi­o­neer reached out to the pair on Satur­day but was un­able to reach them by dead­line.

Sorel said she is con­cerned for the cur­rent em­ploy­ees.

“They are won­der­ful peo­ple, and ev­ery­one de­serves job se­cu­rity and pay cheques that are go­ing to clear.”

A cur­rent server spoke to the Jour­nal Pi­o­neer anony­mously for fear of reprisal.

“We went to get our pay cheques on Fri­day and the own­ers said they were closed and fil­ing for bank­ruptcy. I drive a long way to work and came to col­lect and de­posit my cheque think­ing I would make my car pay­ment and what not,” said the server. “I haven’t been work­ing with the restau­rant long, but when I came on­board staff were com­plain­ing about not be­ing paid. The own­ers cov­ered it up by say­ing their bank ac­count got frozen and they were work­ing on get­ting the pay.”

The server said the restau­rant is down to a “skele­ton staff con­sist­ing of five servers and two cooks” as a re­sult of the pay dis­putes.

“On Wed­nes­day a staff mem­ber went in to dis­cover there was no propane for heat, so the own­ers can­celled ev­ery­one’s shift and then re­opened on Thurs­day for karaoke. They op­er­ated the restau­rant, just the two of them and the DJ en­ter­tain­ing cus­tomers.”

In a staff Face­book mes­sage sent on Fri­day at noon, Ash­ford de­clared the busi­ness had gone bank­rupt as a re­sult of theft in ex­cess of $100,000.

An ex­cerpt from that mes­sage reads:

“If any­one knows who did this (the al­leged theft) please let them know that it was them who closed us down and put you all out of a job and even though we are done does not mean the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is done.”

Also in the post the restau­rant own­ers stated the al­leged theft is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the Sum­mer­side Po­lice Ser­vice’s ma­jor crimes unit.

When con­tacted Satur­day, po­lice of­fi­cials asked the Jour­nal Pi­o­neer to con­tact them again on Mon­day to speak to an of­fi­cial spokesman.

The server stated all the staff are fu­ri­ous and want an­swers.

DE­SIREE AN­STEY/ JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Lo­cal 311 in Sum­mer­side has closed un­til fur­ther no­tice, leav­ing some em­ploy­ees con­fused and an­gry after their cheques bounced. In a Face­book mes­sage sent to staff, one of the own­ers de­clared the busi­ness has gone bank­rupt due to theft in ex­cess of $100,000.

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