According to the leaked email, Applebee’s franchise executive Wayne Pancreatz was keen on skyrocketing gas prices and encouraged his positions to reduce their wages. Everyone has heard that gas prices continue to rise, ”read an email from the account of Wayne Pankretz, executive director of operations at Applebee’s franchise Apple Central LLC. “The advantage for us is that it will increase the flow of applications and we have the potential to reduce the average wage. How do you ask?”
Pankratz told managers that those who worked at Applebee’s “live paycheck to paycheck” would be “forced to return to the workforce” out of necessity. Pancreas also seemed satisfied that skyrocketing gas prices would bite competitors, and that they would be in a better position if Applebee could reduce wage costs. “We all competed for rent from the limited applicant pool and there was a wage war,” he wrote in a March 9 memo. “They will never be able to do it again.”
Pankratz predicted that the result would be, “Employing low-wage employees to reduce our labor.” [costs]At one point, Pankratz directly asked Applebee’s managers to hire employees at a “lower rate” and to reduce wage costs if possible.
The memo provoked widespread outrage against Applebee and forced multiple directors to resign. Jack Holcomb, a former Applebee manager in Lawrence, Kansas, resigned after seeing the email chain. “I was just shocked and upset,” Holcomb told Lawrence World Journal.
By Wednesday, Lawrence Restaurant had reopened. A spokesman for Apple Central LLC confirmed that Lawrence’s location had been closed for some time on Tuesday, but could not confirm how many employees had resigned or what the role of staff shortages had been by the end of Tuesday, Lawrence World Journal reported.
The spokesman took issue with the email chain in a statement to the publication. “It simply came to our notice then. That’s right, “said Scott Fisher, director of communications at Apple Central, which has 47 Applebee restaurants in Kansas City and the Midwest. Fisher says Applebee has no policy on trying to use higher gas prices to reduce the salaries of new employees. Fisher said the idea was not discussed as a potential concept among the company’s top management, in part because it didn’t make much sense.
“I know this may sound crazy, but I have no idea what this gentleman is talking about,” Fisher said. “We’re still worried about what this gentleman was thinking.”