Note: we are republishing this story which originally made the news in August 2021.
A Jason’s Deli establishment in Melbourne, Florida, has ignited a social media firestorm due to a sign outside that linked worker wages to attitudes and expectations deemed by many as unrealistic.
The sign further claimed that achieving $15 required the employee to “outshine and outperform the owner,” while managing “all of the above” duties.
While the Melbourne location refrained from commenting and redirected inquiries to its corporate office, Jason’s Deli’s corporate office confirmed that the sign had been displayed by a manager at the establishment.
Ragan Edgerly, the president and COO, addressed the situation, stating that the manager intended to attract applicants by highlighting potential upward mobility within the company’s Career Path program. Edgerly acknowledged the sign’s inappropriate communication style, emphasizing that it did not accurately represent Jason’s Deli’s hiring practices.
Edgerly explained that upon contact from the corporate office, the manager promptly recognized the sign’s inappropriateness and removed it. The company expressed regret for any misunderstanding caused by the sign.
The president and COO emphasized Jason’s Deli’s appreciation for its employees and commitment to maintaining high service standards through the hiring of highly motivated individuals with competitive and fair wages. The incident was acknowledged as a learning opportunity, prompting outreach to all managers to ensure appropriate responses to the challenges of hiring in the current environment.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, the service industry, including restaurants like Jason’s Deli, has faced difficulties hiring and retaining employees, leading to staff shortages, customer complaints, and some closures or reduced services.
On social media, criticism of the sign was widespread, with many attributing the challenges of the service industry’s labor shortage to the manager’s attitude. Some condemned the effort invested in creating the sign, referring to it as a “travesty.” Others deemed it “tone deaf,” particularly during the pandemic, and questioned why an employee working like two people was not compensated at a higher hourly rate.
While the majority of responses expressed disapproval, there were some who supported the sign, describing it as realistic and providing incentives for hard work. The incident highlights broader industry challenges in hiring and retaining staff during these challenging times.