Applebee's Email Aftermath: Labor Market Recovery Proves Elusive

Economists claim that the US financial situation is improving but that's hard to notice at the ground level.

Accordingly, we share some of the more BRILLIANT insights from a recent column that helps us unpack a trend emerging amongst younger workers as the fundamentals of the American economy continue to evolve . . .

"He was fired by the Applebee’s franchise group for the content of his email and perhaps for saying the quiet part out loud. Kevin Carroll, chief operations officer at Applebee’s, said in a statement that (the manager's) opinions were his own and that, above all, the company values its employees. “Our team members,” the statement said, “are the lifeblood of our restaurants, and our franchisees are always looking to reward and incentivize team members, new and current, to remain within the Applebee’s family.”

"But the pandemic has led many folks to fully rethink how they regard their work — or, more specifically, the quality of their lives. After hustling small children off to day care, or working multiple jobs just to make ends meet, record numbers of Americans have simply up and quit their jobs — roughly 4 million each month from September through February.

"Now, after two years of the pandemic, workers are tired of being asked to tighten their belts and work harder. Many are starting to realize that life is not work and work is not life, and they are done spinning their wheels."

This is part of the "cultural shift" we've been talking about and it's taking hold among both conservatives and progressives . . .

"It’s not that nobody wants to work anymore, as some in capitalism’s high command fear. Most people, given a chance, will work hard to make a better life for themselves. But wages in this country long ago lost pace with the cost of living, and our politics are not currently arranged to correct the imbalance. Little is formally compelling companies to pay more — not even a shortage of workers . . .

"There is not much left to the old covenants between employer and employee, in part because the two sides are now separated by vast differences in incomes in ways that were unthinkable 50 years ago. Annual median pay for chief executives rose to $14.2 million from $13.4 million over the past year, increasing by double-digit percentages during the pandemic — faster than wages for workers in general."

A hint at a solution for smart managers and companies . . .

"Private employers might want to invest in their employees instead of waiting for conditions to decline. Workers are more productive when they want to come to work and when they encounter a culture that breeds loyalty. Worker turnover decreases when employees aren’t despairing the moment they walk through the workplace doors.

"We have enough challenges as a country without self-styled managers stoking class warfare. People who have grown accustomed to low pay and long hours don’t want to waste their lives any longer."

Read more via links . . .

Opinion | The lessons in the Applebee's email

Wayne Pankratz was only saying what other restaurateurs and business owners are probably thinking. Pankratz was, until recently, a mid-level executive working for Apple Central, which owns the chain of "neighborhood" restaurants known as Applebee's.

Applebee's franchise exec fired after saying gas hikes could mean lower wages

An Applebee's franchisee employee who suggested in a leaked email that high gas prices could force desperate workers into longer shifts at lower pay has been fired. "As inflation continues to climb and gas prices continue to go up, that means more hours employees will need to work to maintain their current level of living," reads the March 6 email that was allegedly sent by Wayne Pankratz, an executive with American Franchise Capital.

Applebee's exec's email sparks mass resignation: 'It tipped everyone over the edge'

An email from a franchise executive caused a mass resignation at an Applebee's in Kansas after the executive suggested lowering wages amid inflation and higher gas prices. The email was sent by Wayne Pankratz, an executive at the franchise group in charge of the restaurant in Lawrence west of Kansas City in the eastern part of the state, the company confirmed.

Developing . . .