Up to one hundred employees
will greet 2018 without a job
Just before Christmas, six metro area Little Caesars locations closed without notice, and let go dozens of employees. Unfortunately, those restaurants are not expected to reopen, which means a grim start to the new year for many people.
Out of sixteen Little Caesars locations in the Kansas City area, the status of ten of them are still uncertain. The stores that have closed include:
• 8930 West 95th Street, Overland Park, KS
• 7569 State Avenue, Kansas City, KS
• 8793-B Blue Ridge Boulevard, Kansas City, MO
• 6203 Main Street, Grandview, MO
• 1759 West Jesse James Road, Excelsior Springs, MO
• 600 East Santa Fe Street, Olathe, KS
A location in Lawrence also closed unexpectedly.
The surprise shutdown took place on December 20. Between 70 and 100 workers were affected, and according to a source, they have not been offered transfers to other locations.
One of these workers, Joann Heyward, moved here from Atlanta to take an assistant manager position at the Blue Ridge location.
“The district manager told me there was a lot potential to grow and I just assumed it was a thriving business,” Heyward said.
The loss of her job has put her in a terrible situation.
“I have a 12-year-old I have to take care of and she has Lupus,” she said. “So, with me not have medical or anything out here, I have to pay cash for all her medicines and everything.”
Heyward has spent hours looking for other jobs, but the timing couldn’t be worse, and possible employers are largely unreachable during the holiday season
“It’s nerve-racking to know that when I wake up the next day, I’m still not going to have a job,” she said. “No matter how many applications I put in, I think don’t anyone’s going to call me back that quick.”
As a single mother, Hayward just wants to get back to work. “I don’t want handouts,” she said. “I just want a job.”
Prior to the closings, courtroom battles have apparently been brewing between Little Caesars and store owners, with franchises on the line. Since no ruling has been made, the cause of the closings is still unclear.
The Kansas City stores are part of a group of 21 franchises owned by Utah residents R. Alan and Beverly S. Knox. They’ve run Little Caesars for 30 years, but not without run-ins with Little Caesars Enterprises.
In 2013, Little Caesars sued the Knoxes for failing to make payments due under their agreement. The two sides settled the following year.
In July, Little Caesars took the Knoxes to court again, claiming they were late in their payments. This time, though, Little Caesars wants to strip them of their franchises––having notified them in the 2013 settlement “that no similar accommodations would be made in the future.”
The Knoxes countered that the real problem is over the price charged for Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready pizzas. Little Caesars wanted franchisees to charge $5 (as advertised nationally) and the Knox-owned stores were charging $5.99, just as they were in 2013.
“After 30 years of doing business together, LCE (Little Caesars Enterprises) is attempting to terminate the Knoxes as franchisees and subvert their $5.99 business model by openly seeking new store locations in Kansas City for new franchisees to open and take their franchises and stores,” the couple’s court filing said.
All of this is little consolation to newly-terminated workers. While the big dogs fight their fight, good people like Joann Heyward are left to put together the pieces in the new year.