02-05-2005, 08:48 PM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
- In heels
Fast-food shop owner takes off, employees take over
It was a scene right out of "Home Alone," but the locale was a Quiznos Sub shop in North Seattle, where the franchise owner was absent for weeks and the skeleton crew made do with a dwindling food supply and a lot of irate customers. "Due to bad owners we are out of a lot of things, please do not get mad at the employees & manager," explained the cardboard sign on the door.
Inside, the dessert section was empty, the chip shelves were mostly bare (except for jalapeño chips) and the soda machine was fringed with little white "out of order" signs (except for Vanilla Coke).
"I'll have a large Out of Order," cracked one customer on Tuesday.
"Is that with ice or without?" Dawna Lentz, the store manager, shot back.
Things had been this way since November, Lentz said, just a month after the sub shop opened in a little strip mall on Holman Road.
Reluctant to quit because of a tough job market, the 25-year-old Lentz kept the restaurant running, relying on the loyalty of the shop's few remaining employees and her own scrappy improvisation.
Since food vendors would no longer deliver on credit, Lentz drove to discount grocers to buy lunchmeat, using cash from the previous day's till. She bought the special Quiznos bread from other franchises, rationing part of what was left after the lunch rush, so there would be enough for the crew working the dinner shift.
"Crew" was a generous term, since only three other employees remained from a staff that once topped a dozen. They started quitting around the time their checks started bouncing, Lentz said. James Zambrano, 26, stuck with the restaurant out of loyalty to Lentz, even though his unpaid wages reached about $450.
"I like working here," he said Tuesday, leaning against an empty countertop that was supposed to hold the soup, which the store also ran out of. "Everybody gets along like family."
Zambrano earns $7.60 an hour, but he only got paid for the full shift if there was enough money in the cash register
02-05-2005, 09:09 PM #2
What a work ethic! Man, I'd hire that woman if she lived anywhere REMOTELY by me!