Tom Douglas is a name synonymous with Seattle. So it came as a shock when news broke last night that the longtime James Beard Award–winning area executive chef, restaurateur, author, and radio talk show host would be closing 12 of his 13 restaurants for 8 to 12 weeks because of factors related to the coronavirus, effective after this Sunday, March 15.
From the Seattle Times:
Sales at Douglas’ restaurants have declined up to 90% since the coronavirus outbreak, and spokesperson Madeline Dow Pennington said Wednesday night that executives have “spent hours over the last two days analyzing every single model to keep our team whole, and unfortunately this is the only outcome that made the most sense.”
This decline in sales was probably felt even more deeply in light of a recent $2.4 million class-action settlement against Douglas and his restaurant group, Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen, filed on behalf of 1,360 current and former employees. Now the bulk of his current employees, numbering in the hundreds, are suddenly unemployed, with no severance pay and the only light at the end of the tunnel the possibility of getting their jobs back when the restaurants reopen.
Those restaurants include Brave Horse Tavern, Cantina Lena, the Carlile Room, Trattoria Cuoco, Dahlia Lounge, Etta's, Lola, Palace Kitchen, Seatown Market Diner, Rub with Love Shack, Serious Pie, and Serious Pie and Biscuit—many located in areas that are virtual ghost towns right now.
Eight to 12 weeks is an estimate, not necessarily what will play out in reality. It all depends on when Amazon and other workers at companies that Douglas's restaurant serve return to their offices and start eating out again.
Dahlia Bakery will remain open, due to its contract with Hotel Ändra across the street.
The hospitality industry in Seattle has already taken a huge hit from #Covid_19 and it's not going to get better in two weeks. Tom Douglas alone employed 800+ people at his restaurants which all just shut down, leaving 800+ suddenly unemployed. https://t.co/LQn2vgHvKd
— Richard LaRue (@richard_larue) March 12, 2020