BOSTON (CBS) — The owners of Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo restaurants confirmed Monday that they have closed about 95 locations and are filing for bankruptcy protection.
In hopes of protecting the combined 178 Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo that are still open, PGHC Holdings Inc will sell the chain to Wynnchurch Capital. The portfolio company is described as an investor in middle market businesses “that possess the potential for substantial growth and profit improvement.”
“These were hard decisions but decisions we believe were absolutely necessary to allow Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches to continue serving New England now and for years to come,” CFO Corey Wendland said in a statement.
Papa Gino’s broke its social media silence on Monday.
“We were overwhelmed to receive the passionate response of our guests who were disappointed by the recent closure of several Papa Gino’s restaurants,” Papa Gino’s posted to its official Facebook page. “While we regret the rather abrupt closures, we are currently undergoing major updates to better serve our guests and ask for your patience as we make these changes.”
But many who commented on the Facebook post called out Papa Gino’s for not addressing the employees now out of a job
“You should have had a plan in place to deal with many people losing their jobs,” one commenter wrote. “Shame on you.”
Others said it was wrong of the company to put people out of work so close to the holidays.
“I was a huge supporter of yours for my entire life, but now I’ll never eat at your establishment ever again,” another commenter said.
The husband of an assistant manager at multiple Papa Gino’s stores in central Mass. said his wife, her employees, and her supervisors were not even given 24 hours heads up before their stores closed Sunday.
The Dedham-based pizzeria abruptly closed a number of stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but not before depositing extra money and then removing it from the bank accounts of employees, according to the couple.
The couple did not want to be identified. The man told WBZ-TV that his wife has been working at Papa Gino’s for about a year.
“Friday night, we had no idea that anything was going on, my wife gets paid on Fridays like all Papa Gino’s employees, and she got a $1,700 deposit in addition to her regular pay around noon on Friday and we just assumed it was a bonus,” he said.
Others received the “bonus” as well, he said, further convincing the couple that is what the deposit was. The monetary amount people were given varied along with their position and tenure.
“Like any other middle-class family, we have been working as hard as we can and we just thought it was a blessing in disguise so we spent a few hundred dollars that night on the family. A couple hours later, the money was taken out of the account and we were short money we would normally have.”
His wife was unable to ask corporate about the mysterious deposit during her 12-hour shifts on Friday or Saturday. Then on Sunday, they found out the stores had closed.
“Her employees started calling her like ‘hey, look, I showed up to my shift and this lady from corporate won’t let me in the building, what’s going on?’ She had no idea. And she called her boss and her boss had no idea.”
A few hours later, she received a call from human resources explaining she was laid off and encouraging her to reapply.
The man is astonished Papa Gino’s did not give any notice, even to employees that had been with the company for 10 or 15 years, he said. “Nobody knew. Nobody knew anything.”
“It’s not just people, you know like you think of your typical high school student just having a weekend job, I mean these are people that have work there five, 10, 15 years that — absolutely no notice.”
As for the deposit and withdrawal? He also has a theory: “I just assumed, you know, H.R. probably knew about the upcoming closing and someone was upset and just started pressing buttons and was like ‘I’m just going to send people money.’ Then they realized what was going on and took it back. I don’t know for sure, that was I assumed but it could just be an accounting error but this has never happened before.”
According to the couple, Papa Gino’s was bought out by another company about a month ago. “I know it’s a business decision [to close stores] but this is not only affecting all the employees that have put in so many years but the community who has been going here for 15 or 20 years.”
And what’s next for his wife? Applying for unemployment and starting to look for a new job, she will not be reapplying to Papa Gino’s. “I guess that’s everybody’s next step.”