LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The parent company of Logan’s and Old Chicago restaurants notified its furloughed employees they have been fired, effective March 31, according to new bankruptcy filings and media reports.
The parent company, Craftworks Holdings based in Chattanooga, Tenn., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 4 and closed almost all its properties and furloughed employees. Employees were told their health benefits ended March 31, according to a report in Restaurant Business Online.
Labor experts said that may benefit employees in some states who may have access to benefits, especially enhanced unemployment under the new federal stimulus package, faster by being terminated.
But since the bankruptcy filing, the coronavirus pandemic has made operations even more difficult it said, calling the circumstances “unprecedented” in a statement, and hopes of reopening at least some of the properties under a bankruptcy agreement faded.
The company’s CEO and other top administrators were fired recently for paying states $7 million in sales taxes collected at restaurants, according to the court documents.
The company at one time had 18,000 employees but now is down to less than 25, according to media reports in Tennessee and bankruptcy papers.
In a court hearing last week, the company stated about half its 261 restaurants may never reopen.
“We are doing everything possible to reopen in the future once this national crisis passes,” CraftWorks chief experience officer Josh Kern told the New York Post. “It breaks our hearts to be in this position.”
The sales tax revenues were reportedly paid to states without the approval of court-appointed overseers, according to Restaurant Business Online. States have returned only a fraction of those funds.