Applebees manager says high gas prices are good for labor

(NEXSTAR) – Applebee’s is responding to a recent email from an executive working for one of its franchisees.

The executive, identified as Wayne Pankratz of American Franchise Capital, had emailed colleagues in which he argued that rising gas prices and inflation were actually good for business. Pankratz’s thinking, as he explained to regional officials, is that rising prices would force more people into the workforce, allowing Applebee to hire employees “at lower wages” than what she had before.

Pankratz explained:

“We are no longer in competition with the government when it comes to hiring. Stimulus money is gone, supplementary unemployment is gone. This benefits us as prices go up, people… who are dependent on unemployment money, will simply have less money to spend. This will force people back into the labor market.

He added that some “mother and pop or small businesses” would likely fail due to spiraling costs, sending more potential employees into the hiring pool.

“The benefit this has for us is that it will increase the flow of applications and has the potential to reduce our average salary,” he wrote in the memo, which has since been leaked to Reddit and Twitter.

Pankratz also acknowledged that “most of our employees and potential employees live paycheck to paycheck,” and some “will have to work longer hours or get second jobs” to maintain their standard of living. current.

“Do things to make sure you’re the employer of choice,” he advised. “Get schedules filled in early so they can plan their other jobs around yours. More importantly, having the culture and environment that will attract people.

American Franchise Capital (AFC) owns more than 100 restaurants in the Midwest, including Applebee’s and Taco Bell, according to The Kansas City Star. Pankratz’s LinkedIn profile, where he is described as executive director of operations at Applebee, was deleted this week.

Kevin Carroll, Applebee’s chief operating officer, appeared to confirm the legitimacy of the email in a statement shared with Nexstar, but said the opinions presented by the author of the memo were not consistent with those of the company.

“This is an individual’s opinion, not Applebee’s,” Carroll wrote. “This issue is handled internally by the franchisee who employs this person and who owns and operates the restaurants in this market. Our team members are the lifeblood of our restaurants, and our franchisees are always looking to reward and encourage new and current team members to remain part of the Applebee family.

An AFC representative added that Pankratz “does not have the authority to create a policy for our company for branding or anything”, and suggested that “maybe he wrote it in the middle of the night”.

“The main message here is that this is absolutely not about our policies or our culture or anything like that with our brand,” the spokesperson told the Kansas City Star.

Despite statements from Applebee and the AFC that they would fix the problem, the leaked email has already left a sour taste in customers’ mouths.

“Imagine celebrating that your employees aren’t making enough to live on and being thrilled that you can pay them *even less* because they’re now more desperate. Sickening,” wrote one LinkedIn user.

“I am grateful that so many restaurants are showing us that they are run by absolutely terrible people. I am ordering about 90% less than before, I have blacklisted many stores and my wallet and my health have suffered. improved”, another said the Twitter user.

Workers, understandably, were also offended by the email, which led to three managers at an Applebee in Lawrence, Kansas, quitting their jobs, one worker told the Lawrence Journal-World. The restaurant was temporarily closed on Tuesday.

Michael A. Bynum