American restaurateur Danny Mayer has made around 2,000 of his employees redundant after being forced to close his restaurants amid the coronavirus crisis.
As reported by Eater, Mayer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which owns over 20 restaurants in the US, including the Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern in New York, has laid off around 80% of its workforce.
The redundancies include both restaurant staff and workers at the company’s corporate office due to a “near complete elimination of revenue”.
According to Eater, executives at the company have voluntarily reduced their salaries and the staff that have been kept on are there to keep “basic corporate functions” operating.
When the restaurants reopen, Union Square Hospitality Group employees have been told to re-apply for their jobs, however the company will waive the 90-day waiting period for access to health care benefits.
The aim is to re-hire former staff members once the restaurants are back up and running. Mayer has set up relief fund for USHG employees, which he’s donated to.
“In the 35-year history of Union Square Hospitality Group, this is, without a doubt, the most challenging period any of us has ever encountered as leaders,” Meyer said in the statement, calling on the US government to offer support to the struggling hospitality sector to help it survive through the crisis.