Yesterday’s closure of T.G.I. FRiDAY’S Barbados restaurant has cost more than 50 Barbadians their jobs.
And while management of immediate Trinidad and Tobago parent company Prestige Holdings Limited this morning blamed the Hastings, Christ Church operation’s demise on “local operating costs, increasing losses and the declining local economic climate”, staff are upset at the “abrupt” and uncaring manner they received the news.
PHL, parent company of Prestige Restaurants Limited which directly operated T.G.I in Barbados, said in a statement released this morning in Trinidad:
“Prestige Holdings Limited and Prestige Restaurants Limited, which first opened the T.G.I FRiDAYS Restaurant in Barbados in August 2007, experienced losses in the market since inception.
“We are forced to close this restaurant as it became unsustainable due to local operating costs, increasing losses and the declining local economic climate.
“We take this opportunity to thank our loyal employees, customers and suppliers, for the support over the years and to express regret that we have had to make this very difficult decision,” the board of directors added.
Barbados TODAY understands, however, that while T.G.I workers now on the breadline were aware of the restaurant’s financial difficulties, many were shocked after being called to a “mandatory” staff meeting yesterday morning and told the business was closing immediately.
“The workers were all dismissed at the shortest of notice to staff, but they knew that the restaurant was in the process of closure,” one of the affected workers said.
“On Thursday night the restaurant hardly had anything to offer its guests and questions were asked of staff but they couldn’t give the customers any good answers to their relevant questions. It was quite embarrassing.
“Regular customers turned up for their usual lunch date yesterday to find closed doors,” the worker added.
Employees who lost their jobs yesterday included kitchen staff, barmen, servers, and hostesses. On Monday Barbados TODAY broke news of the major financial difficulties the restaurant was confronting.
Chairman Christian E. Mouttet called it “a considerable disappointment” and said during 2012 and the first quarter of this year it continued to make losses.
“The Barbados T.G.I. FRiDAY’S restaurant incurred another loss on lower sales in a very difficult economy. This restaurant has been a considerable disappointment to date and significant effort and resources are being deployed in 2013 to turn this operation around,” he said in reference to last year’s performance.
“During the financial year our T.G.I. FRiDAY’S Barbados sustained a decrease in revenue by six per cent over prior year and an operating loss.”
But after saying an effort would be made to turn the restaurant around, indications are that continued losses in 2013 prompted management to close.
“Our two T.G.I FRiDAY’S restaurants in Jamaica and Barbados continue to struggle in those economically depressed markets, and performed below our expectations and prior year,” Mouttet reported to shareholders recently.(SC)