|Updated: 10/16/2012 11:36 pm
||Published: 10/16/2012 6:55 pm
Back Yard Burgers restaurants shut down all corporate locations across Arkansas Sunday.
Out of 14 locations, only five are currently still serving customers. Those locations are in Benton, Bryant, Rogers, Fayetteville and Hot Springs.
The signage is gone from several of the closed restaurants and all the equipment has been taken out. According to store employees, corporate managers came in during the Sunday evening shift and told them to stop taking orders and turn customers away. Employees say they had no idea this was coming.
The Bryant restaurant is owned and operated by the Powell family. Stevie Powell says she and her husband took the location over in 1998. "Our son and daughter-in-law work here, too."
The Powell's say the closure of the other locations is a hardship for those employees who were let go without any warning, and it will hurt their business too. "It always helps the more stores you have, the bigger the coupon drops, the more advertising dollars available to you. Without that it's like each franchise I assume is own their own."
Back Yard Burgers franchise owners are expecting a call from corporate soon to let them know how the closures could impact them. Corporate released this statement saying:
"We regret having to close our Company-owned restaurants in Arkansas. In addition, we have closed 3 locations in the state of Tennessee. Like any responsible company during these challenging times, Back Yard Burgers is conducting a comprehensive review of its business to ensure the Company is operating efficiently and positioned for future growth. We remain committed to continuing to provide high-quality, freshly prepared, great tasting food to our customers in the other markets we serve and are pleased to report that Back Yard Burgers franchise-owned locations remain in Arkansas."
The Powell's say they'll keep serving up burgers and fries even if they have to do it as a mom and pop. "For us franchisers, it's business as usual."
There's no official number from corporate how many employees are out of a job. The Powell's say there are on average 20 workers at each location. With nine locations closed, there are approximately 180 Back Yard Burgers workers now unemployed.