Updated at 5 p.m. Ruby Tuesday spokeswoman Meredith Hammond emailed the following statement:
Qualified team members have been offered the opportunity to transfer to a neighboring Ruby Tuesday restaurant. Also, team member's paychecks for this week will be available for pickup tomorrow at the restaurant and next week's checks will be mailed directly to the team member's address on file.
Local employees of Ruby Tuesday at Westfield Fox Valley Mall in Aurora got something of a shock Monday morning after discovering through text messages or Facebook posts that they were out of a job.
Three workers at the restaurant confirmed this morning that they were never informed by management that the store would serve its last meal Sunday night.
“I would expect there would be some proper notice and a face-to-face discussion,” said bartender and Naperville resident Michael Walcott, who worked at the restaurant for two years. “Instead they cut us loose with no warning whatsoever.”
Walcott said he did receive a phone call from a manager later in the morning, and believed he was trying to reach other employees.
A call to the store was unanswered Monday morning, and a call to the corporate officials has yet to be returned. The store no longer shows up as a location on the company’s website. A call to mall management also has yet to be returned.
Kendra Tully of Oswego worked at the Fox Valley location for about a month after transferring from another location in Iowa. She said some employees got an indication of the closing Sunday when they discovered the cable service to the televisions had been turned off. An employee called the cable company, only to be told that the store was closing and that’s why it had been switched off.
Tully said employees tried contacting the store’s general manager for information, but got no response. Now, she’s worried she won't get her last paycheck.
“I don’t have direct deposit,” said the Oswego High School graduate. “They better pay me.”
Danielle Madura of Aurora said she worked as a part-time server for about a year while going to school. She said her last shift also was Sunday night. There were recent signs of something happening, she said.
“The building was falling apart and they weren’t fixing it, and they weren’t restocking things,” she said. “Everyone is really upset. We would have thought they would have at least offered us some options.”
The abrupt closing is one in the latest in a series. Orland Park Patch reported in December that the Orland Square Mall location also was closed without advance notice.
Meredith Hammond, a spokeswoman for Ruby Tuesday, said then the restaurant closed Dec. 8 because the franchisee was not renewing the lease. She did not know the franchisee’s name.
In 2009, the franchisee was Peoria-based R.T. Midwest Holdings LLC, which appears to have gone out of business. That same year, Simon Property Group, which owns Orland Square Mall, sued Ruby Tuesday for $69,000 in back rent.