Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews will be closing its five Alberta restaurants, all located in Edmonton, by Dec. 8, employees were told over the weekend.
“The closures are part of a reassessment of Red Robin’s real estate portfolio — one of the strategic priorities that Red Robin had previously announced,” company spokesperson Kevin Caulfield said in an email.
Each location employs about 60 people, Caulfield said.
Staff were disheartened to hear the news, said a supervisor from one of the locations. CBC agreed not to identify the man, who fears reprisal for speaking publicly.
“It was really sad,” he said. “There were a lot of people that were crying.”
Employees were told by their local management team during a meeting Sunday morning, he said.
Most staff members have decided to work their remaining eight weeks, the supervisor added, as a show of support for their management team.
“They wanted to stick it through the end together,” he said. “It’s a big family. Everybody wants to be there for each other.”
Employees and management, many of them long-time staff members, were blindsided, the supervisor said.
“They should have let us know a lot sooner,” he said, adding that staff don’t know if they qualify for severance pay.
“The feeling around the room was that we just got cheated from corporate. We’ve given everything we’ve got to them for so long and nothing’s going to come out of it.”
Losing their jobs right before the holiday season is another blow, he said.
“Many of them have kids, or kids on the way. They’ve been put in a very difficult situation.”