An Outback Steakhouse restaurant in Midtown in Shelby County was called out for exposing their lazy employees. The establishment decided to post a sign on their door asking customers to be kind to employees because they were overworked and underpaid due to the amount of former Outback Steakhouse employees who were collecting government stimulus checks and unemployment checks.
The now-removed sign read: “Due to the stimulus money and tax time, people just do not want to work. For the Outbackers that do show up for work, we ask for your understanding and patience. They are doing the very best to ensure your dining experience is what you have come to expect from Outback.”
Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer was among the first people to notice the sign and to take action against it. The commissioner snapped a photo of the restaurant sign and posted it to Twitter along with a message to the restaurant and other businesses in the area.
“Is this what you believe of working people Outback? I don’t think this type of rhetoric is what should greet customers. People might have moved on to other jobs that pay them a living wage during the pandemic. This laziness language restaurants are spreading is shameful.”
But that was not the end of it. Sawyer wanted to get through to the restaurant and let them know that the pandemic has been particularly hard on workers – especially restaurant and hospitality workers.
She said: “This falls into this whole ideology that working-class people are lazy and you send them a tax refund or stimulus, and they don’t want to do anything, and the reality of the matter is we are in the middle of a global pandemic.”
On Twitter, Outback Steakhouse responded to the public outrage by claiming that they did not give the location permission to post the controversial sign. The corporate office also stated that the location in question had removed the sign.
In a statement to FOX13, the company said: “This is not our position, and we have addressed this situation with the employee.”
As for the people working at the store, they tried to stay as far away from the person who posted the sign as possible. One store manager, who spoke to FOX13 off-camera and did not want to have their identity mentioned, confirmed that they were not the one to post the sign. However, the manager defended the sign, claiming that it was just a poor attempt to ask for patience from customers since the restaurant was short-staffed.
Sawyer doesn’t buy it.
“That same message could’ve been communicated to their customers by saying, hey everyone, we are very backed up and short staffed right now, please show us some grace period,” Sawyer said. “That’s all you needed, not our lazy employees got 2,000 dollars, and we don’t know what they are doing.”
Sawyer hopes that the restaurant learned to do better.
“I think any business that shares that language is one that doesn’t seem to have a good relationship with their employees and the reality of their day-to-day life, and that’s not something I choose to support,” she added.
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