SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (AP) — Applebee has confirmed that an employee of a Missouri franchisee has been fired after sending an email speculating that high gas prices and the end of pandemic stimulus money will force employees to work longer hours for less pay.
“This is an individual’s opinion, not Appleby’s,” Kevin Carroll, Appleby’s chief operating officer, said in a statement, adding that the franchisor had terminated the mid-level employee. The employee did not work directly for Applebee.
The issues surfaced after someone shared an email last month with Jake Holcomb, who was a manager of an Applebee restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas. He resigned shortly after reading the email, which read: “With inflation continuing to rise and gas prices continuing to rise, this means that employees will need more hours to work to maintain their current standard of living.”
Holcomb said he printed out a few dozen copies and left them where servers can find them, the Springfield News Leader reported.
“Then I gave everyone in the restaurant their food for free and we just left; we didn’t close the store,” he said, adding that he also shared the email with a friend who posted a screenshot to Reddit on March 21.
The restaurant remained closed the next day and email started circulating widely across the internet.