Danny Meyer’s group lets go of 80% workforce

19 March, 2020 by
Annabelle Cloros

In a sign of the devastation the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked on the industry, New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group has left go of 80 per cent of its workforce.

The company, famed for its 21 venues including Gramercy Tavern and Marta, released a statement on Wednesday morning confirming the news.

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The statement said the move was “due to a near-complete elimination of revenue”.

“In the absence of income, restaurants simply cannot pay our non-working team members for more than a short period of time without becoming insolvent. In that scenario, no one wins,” said Meyer.

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While New York’s restaurant scene has largely shut down over the past few days, Union Square continued to pay employees who were not working.

The group will pay for health insurance-related costs for the 2000 affected employees until April and Meyer has set up a relief fund for affected workers.

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The CEO also confirmed he would pledge his salary to the fund.

“To seed the effort, I’m immediately contributing my entire compensation & our exec team is taking a meaningful pay cut,” he posted on Twitter. “Thru 3/24, 100% of all USHG gift card sales will go to the fund.”

According to Eater, employees have been encouraged to reapply for their roles once the group’s restaurants reopen.

Worker benefits such as annual leave and health insurance will resume as normal for those who are rehired, with waiting periods to be lifted.

Image credit: WSJ

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