Papa John’s closed six locations in New York without prior warning this weekend.
Two locations were closed in Albany and Rensselaer Counties, and one location was closed in both Saratoga and Schenectady County.
Former employees estimated that 60 to 100 people lost their jobs Saturday without even knowing why. Signs posted at the closed locations blamed “unforeseen circumstances” but gave no further explanation.
“We never saw it coming. Everyone is shocked and disappointed,” Mike Ofosu, a part-time employee and delivery person who worked at the Latham and Loudonville locations in Albany County, said Sunday. “Everything seemed normal.”
Salvatore Rizzo, who also worked at the Latham location, and had previously been a general manager at the Halfmoon Papa John’s, said, “This has to be horrible for people with families.”
The 21-year-old added, “There was no indication. We all thought it was going to be another workday Saturday until we got the call.”
All six of the closed restaurants were owned by Christian King, whose KNC Holdings also included three Mobil gas stations and five car washes. He opened the six restaurants between 2009 and 2012 and said that he planned to open another six locations.
Last February, King received a $5,500 from the state Labor Department after he was cited by auditors for failing to provide enough polo shirts to employees. The audit also found that King had not been providing part-time employees with different shirts for every shift, which is required by law.
The same scenario happened in 2002 when six restaurants in the Capital Region were closed with no advance notice. Those locations were opened by Syracuse-based Dynamic Pizza beginning ing 1998.
An Albany Papa John’s owned by a different franchisee remained open, and employees answered over a dozen calls from customers of the Rensselaer County locations.
Manager Todd Zehntner said, “We said we would be more than happy to make their pizzas for them, but they’d have to come pick them up because we can only deliver in our Albany area due to franchise rules.”
What do you think the “unforeseen circumstances” were that caused six Papa John’s locations to be closed with no warning?