PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida (FloridaToday.news) — Hungry patrons who walk into Moe’s Southwest Grill in Pinellas Park are surprised to find it’s closed!
The lights are off, the door is locked, and Moe’s on Park Boulevard North has signs.
“The business is closed,” said shopper Annissa Bizzell.
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The captions read: “We do not open for lunch, our franchise owner Tony Friel has not paid a single employee. If he pays for us, we will open again.”
“The 14th was supposed to be our last payday and nobody got paid,” said Tiffany McKenna, manager of Winter Park Moe.
McKenna is the manager of Moe’s in Winter Park, another place Friel owns.
“They were people who fought. People can’t buy groceries, they can’t pay bills,” McKenna said.
McKenna showed us an email that Friel apparently sent to his store managers in Tampa Bay and Orlando that said, “We’ve been struggling to keep up with all the other accounts, but unfortunately we can’t pay wages.”
Further in the letter, they apologized to the employees, promising that they would be paid soon.
“Will we get paid on the 28th for hours we were told we had to come and work or we would be fired?” McKenna said.
Customers who come here to Moe in Pinellas County feel like the staff knows times are tough.
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“The rent has gone up,” Bizzel said. “Food has gone up in price. People have to pay bills, bills don’t stop. They will keep coming.”
News Channel 8 called, texted, and emailed Friel several times. So far, we have not received a response yet.
Moe Corporation shared this statement with us: “At every Moe’s Southwest Grill across the country, treating people with the utmost respect is a top priority. Although the premises at Pinellas Park are independently owned and operated, this situation does not reflect the values of Moe’s and our franchisee community. Since this is an employment-related issue, we cannot comment further.”