A leaked e-mail from a regional manager of an Applebee’s franchise sparked a walk-out of managers at a Lawrence, Kansas, restaurant and a subsequent online outrage.
The e-mail urged the restaurant to begin hiring employees at lower wages, under the theory that people are becoming more desperate to take a job as fuel prices increase.
Wayne Pankratz, a top executive at the franchise Apple Central, which is based in Kansas City and has 47 Applebee’s restaurants in the Midwest., has been blasted after the e-mail was shared on Reddit and Facebook.
In the email, Pankratz wrote: “Everyone has heard that gas prices continue to rise. The advantage this has for us is that it will increase application flow and has the potential to lower our average wage.”
“Most of our employee base and potential employee base live paycheck to paycheck,” he wrote. Stimulus payments and pandemic unemployment payments have both ended, leaving them with reduced incomes just as prices are rapidly rising. “This benefits us,” he wrote. “It will force people back into the work force.”
“Maybe he wrote it in the middle of the night. I don’t know,” AFC Brands spokesperson Scott Fischer told the Kansas City Star. “The main message here is that this in absolutely no way, shape, or form speaks to our policies or our culture, or anything like that with our brand.”