Former staffers claimed this cryptic message was meant for The Shop owner Kevin Blodgett. Picture: Twitter/@timesunion
Former staffers claimed this cryptic message was meant for The Shop owner Kevin Blodgett. Picture: Twitter/@timesunion

Team’s brutal revenge on ‘abusive’ boss

A gastropub has been forced to close its doors after all 26 employees quit at the same time in payback over a number of long-running disputes.

The spectacular stunt occurred earlier this month, when the entire team from The Shop in Troy, New York, handed in their resignation letters to owner Kevin Blodgett.

According to New York newspaper the Times Union, staff members also left behind the words "Do Better. Please" on a chalkboard inside the eatery in an apparent message to Mr Blodgett.

The stoush arose as a result of several different issues, most notably a payroll dispute.

In early September, payroll-processing company MyPayrollHR abruptly shut down, and as a result, a bank it had partnered with automatically withdrew payments that had already been paid into employees' bank accounts - including those from The Shop.

The Shop’s motto is ‘Work hard, stay humble’. Picture: Facebook
The Shop’s motto is ‘Work hard, stay humble’. Picture: Facebook

According to the Times Union, the fiasco left some workers with "minimal or negative bank balances", which caused significant distress - but Mr Blodgett "never appeared in the restaurant or communicated directly with staff".

Instead, he allegedly told operations manager Jared Barton via text to refer staff members on to their own banks.

"It really showed us again his inability to lead a group of people," Mr Barton told the publication.

The Shop's motto, chosen by Mr Blodgett, is "Work hard, stay humble" - although several staff members told the local paper he rarely appeared on the premises, despite living in a flat upstairs.

He allegedly communicated to staff through Mr Barton and executive chef Rich Matthews - although they claimed to have a "fraught" relationship with their boss.

The situation came to a head in August, when Mr Barton and Mr Matthews, who are engaged, discovered their pay had been suddenly cut.

They began searching for new jobs, but also told other staffers of their plans to leave, which prompted others to follow suit.

This message was allegedly left for The Shop owner Kevin Blodgett inside the restaurant. Picture: Twitter/@timesunion
This message was allegedly left for The Shop owner Kevin Blodgett inside the restaurant. Picture: Twitter/@timesunion

The payroll issue was the final nail in the coffin, sparking the mass walkout earlier than planned.

"I'd watched his (Mr Blodgett's) behaviour degrade to the point where he was just not present in the business, and when he was, he was abusive, especially toward Jared and Rich," former staffer Josh James told the Times Union.

In a follow up interview with the publication, Mr Blodgett denied claims he had been abusive, and launched an extraordinary spray at his "entitled" staff.

"When you're dealing with a bunch of millennials that feel all kinds of self-entitled, you have to keep them in line. I made it very clear: If they didn't like it, they could quit," Mr Blodgett said.

"They were making such good money that they didn't quit."

However, it's not the first time restaurant staff have walked out on a job in solidarity.

In February this year, the entire team of a Sonic takeaway restaurant in Ohio in the US also quit en-masse, leaving an expletive-laden note sticky taped to the branch's front door.

Teams at Sonic branches have been quitting en masse. Picture: Twitter @_ericblanc
Teams at Sonic branches have been quitting en masse. Picture: Twitter @_ericblanc

"Warning: Due to terrible management, the whole store has quit," the letter began.

"The company has been sold to people that don't give a f**k about anyone but themselves. "Sorry for the inconvenience, but our team refuses to work for a company that treats their employees like sh*t when they have put everything into this story."

It is signed off by the "ex-Sonic crew" with a final "F**K YOU" to the new owners.

Similar mass resignation protests also took place at Sonic restaurants in other Ohio locations, including Grove City and Lancaster.

According to the Scioto Post, the stoush began after the affected branches suddenly changed hands after being sold to SRI Operating Company, a management company connected with Sonic which runs franchises across the US.

That ownership change allegedly led to staff being laid off, as well as wages being cut from minimum wage to just $US4 ($A5.56) per hour plus tips.


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