Restaurant Closes When Workers Walk Out After Manager Fired

Our industry is very familiar with the challenge of garnering sustained support from the hourly ranks. This story below out of Arizona is pretty notable. Partly for the reaction by the staff at the firing of their manager. But if you look further into the story that broke today, there have been volumes of online comments in less than 24-hours. It could be staging for a perilous PR nightmare.
Any thoughts?
Paul


Workers Walk Out After Buca di Beppo Manager Fired
When an executive of the Italian restaurant chain Buca Di Beppo fired Joe
Busone, the longtime manager of a Phoenix location, seven servers and the
hostess walked off the job at the height of the dinner hour, forcing the
restaurant to close for the night.

Luci Scott - The Arizona Republic - Oct. 9, 2008
http://www.azcentral.com/community/ahwatukee/articles/2008/10/09/20...\
dmanager1009-ON.html

When an executive of the Italian restaurant chain Buca Di Beppo fired Joe
Busone, the longtime manager of the Chandler location, he might as well have
fired much of the rest of the staff.

In an act of loyalty, seven servers and the hostess walked off the job late last
month at the height of the dinner hour, forcing the restaurant to close for the
night.

The dismissal might have chased away for good some loyal customers as well.
Busone, 53, had been the manager at Buca Di Beppo at Ray and Priest roads for
eight years, and he had built a reputation as someone generous to community
groups and loved by his staff.

Greg Geryak, who owns an insurance agency in Ahwatukee, had organized an annual
dinner for the Ahwatukee Kiwanis Club at the restaurant. Forty people showed up
for the 6 o'clock reservation.

Shortly after, Geryak said, "Joe saw me, gave me a hug and walked out the door.
Five minutes later, I heard he was fired. Then . . . the three guys that were
going to take care of my party walked out."

The group received their dinner, at a reduced rate, but Geryak said it wasn't up
to Buca standards. The salad was soggy, drinks were slow in arriving and Geryak
had to get up to refill water glasses himself. Desserts were so slow that a
number of the group had left by the time they arrived.

Geryak was so incensed at Busone's firing that he wrote an e-mail to Planet
Hollywood, which recently bought the Buca chain.

"People do business with people they like and trust, and we have lost that trust
in your restaurant after a very rash decision your company made on Sept. 23,"
Geryak wrote.

He went on to praise Busone.

"Joe's commitment to his community was extraordinary," he wrote. "His attitude
toward helping others is a sound business decision that benefited everyone
involved, including Buca."

Busone has donated food or gift cards for fundraising drawings to a number of
organizations, including VFW, Cub Scouts, Chandler High School, Desert Vista
High School, the Corona Del Sol football team, Valley Christian High School,
Chances for Children, a number of parochial schools, and Tri-City Jewish
Community Center.

Busone also has donated free food to the Festival of Lights Wine Tasting and to
Kyrene Sierra Elementary School.

He has helped raise money for breast cancer research. Last year, Buca was the
site of a fundraising dinner for participants in the three-day walk that raises
money for breast cancer research. Busone charged a nominal fee for dinner, which
covered only part of his cost. This spring, he donated six big pans of lasagna
to a dinner in Chandler for breast cancer survivors.

"Your organization has lost a great leader in Joe Busone," Geryak wrote.
"I . . . will inform my entire circle of influence that we will not be dining in
Buca or any other restaurant owned by Planet Hollywood again."

Geryak received no response from Planet Hollywood.


(GO TO LINK ABOVE FOR COMPLETE ARTICLE)

Tags: PR, blogs, chat, news, newspaper, online, press

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Workers Walk Out After Buca di Beppo Manager Fired
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