After fire, restaurant owner pays idled workers to keep team together

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Workers at a Wendy’s in Duluth are getting paid even though they haven't flipped a burger or punched a clock since mid-January.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that around 30 full and part-time employees of the restaurant were thrown out of work by a fire. On January 13, the Northland's News Center reported that the manager who arrived to open the restaurant noticed smoke in the entryway and called the fire department. More than 20 Duluth firefighters battled the blaze, which left the restaurant shuttered.

The workers have continued to collect paychecks while the space is being repaired. The restaurant is on track to reopen in April. Owner Bob Sullivan feared the long lapse in his payroll could put his employees at risk, so he's making sure they're paid.

“We have a great team of people working for us, and they’ve got bills to pay like everyone else,” he said. “It’s just the right thing to do.”

Jackie Grandi, who has worked at the Duluth Wendy’s for nearly 30 years ago, said employees were worried about the prospect of no paychecks until Sullivan explained his plan.

“People were very relieved,” Grandi said. “Some people were already canceling things, because they thought they were probably going to lose their paychecks.”

Sullivan said he has loss-of-income coverage as part of his business insurance. He told the newspaper he’s not sure how much of the compensation he’s providing will be covered by that policy.

Sullivan said the actual fire caused little structural damage, but smoke and soot from the blaze permeated everything; he is remodeling the space as a result. Sullivan is based in Brainerd. He also owns and operates a Wendy’s restaurant there, plus one in Nisswa and two in Fargo.

A 2007 profile of Sullivan that appeared in the Brainerd Dispatch included the story of how he built his business from the ground up.

Next Up

Rennia Davis

Lynx select Rennia Davis in 2021 WNBA Draft

The Tennessee wing was selected ninth overall

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 7.08.23 PM

Appeal to find girl, 14, missing from Benson

Cienna Pittman went missing Tuesday.

Miguel Sano

Walk-off win for Twins snaps 5-game losing streak

Miguel Sano homered, but Max Kepler had the winning hit.

alatus

St. Paul mayor vetoes council's denial of $57M apartment complex

The project has raised affordable housing and gentrification concerns, but the mayor says all types of housing are needed in St. Paul.

Michael Pierce

Coller: Michael Pierce is a breath of fresh air for the Vikings

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

protest, Daunte Wright

In letter, Hennepin Sheriff asks Brooklyn Center: Do you still want our help?

Dave Hutchinson has asked Mayor Mike Elliott whether the city still needs help from other law enforcement agencies.

Image from iOS (1)

Fatal crash closes eastbound Hwy. 62 in Minneapolis

The closure is expected to be in place for an "extended period of time."

police tape, crime scene

Boy, 15, identified as 1 of 2 killed in shooting after crash in Minneapolis

The shooting happened after two vehicles crashed around 2 a.m. April 12.

Related