A copy of Wayne Pankratz’s internal email was posted on Reddit and reported by The Daily Mail.
Pankratz is the executive director of operations for American Franchise Capital, which owns 50 Applebee’s in the Midwest.
He allegedly told managers that employees and applicants are economically hurting, which he saw as an “advantage.”
“Most of our employee base and potential employee base live paycheck to paycheck,” the email read. “Any increase in gas prices cuts into their disposable income.”
This week, the average price of a gallon of regular gas in Midwest states hovered near $4, while Los Angeles hit a record $6.011, according to AAA.
“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.” Pankrantz allegedly added.
He indicated in the email that people needing two jobs to survive and that the company needed to make sure new workers are brought in on lower wages.
Scott Fischer, a spokesman for American Franchise Capital, told the Kansas City Star that the email does not reflect the company’s position nor does Pankratz have any power to make such changes.
“The main message here is that this in absolutely no way, shape, or form speaks to our policies or our culture, or anything like that with our brand,” he added.
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Kevin Carroll, Chief Operations Officer at Applebee’s, also condemned Pankratz’s alleged statement and said the company does not hold the opinions of the AFC exec, according to The Daily Mail.
“This is the opinion of an individual, not Applebee’s, Carroll said in a statement. “We understand that the franchisee who owns and operates the restaurants in this market has placed the individual on leave.”