The new owner of Little Caesers, which recently reopened in State College, called what happened “very embarrassing.”
Shawn Darter, who bought the restaurant in October, wasn’t in charge several months ago when the previous ownership group planned to fire several employees, which caused some staff to stage a walk out. The prior owners then closed the doors, he said, without notifying the corporate office and failing to lock the doors.
But he wants to make things right. Darter, once he owned the restaurant, started by trying to bring back former staff members.
“I’ve heard different stories, and I’ve also talked to former employees,” Darter said. “From what I understand, the prior ownership wanted to release employees who had been here for a while and had high pay. They had that conversation with the general manager. The general manager told one person, and then everyone heard it and staged a walkout.”
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Former staff members were offered their jobs back with the same pay, and three returned.
Darter, who owns seven other locations, also delayed reopening the restaurant for two weeks to clean the kitchen and lobby area and to make repairs to equipment. His next steps include remodeling the lobby area in phases, which will include a new floor, ceiling, counter and digital menu. The remodeling will not cause a closure.
He will also introduce online ordering in early 2018, followed by a “pizza portal” in the summer, which will enable customers to scan a bar code in the store and take out online orders without having to wait in line.
“We’re open, and we’re committed to doing things the right way,” Darter said. “We’ll have a fresher better look, and we’ve got a great team here.”
The restaurant’s phone number has also changed. To make orders by phone, call 308-9838.