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Philz Coffee Lays Off 181 Workers After Weeks of Employee Protests

Also: Dominique Crenn says the restaurant industry “is kaput,” and more news to start your day.

Philz Coffee
After weeks of employee turmoil, SF-based Philz Coffee has laid off 181 workers
Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

In an unsigned email, Philz Coffee laid off 181 employees Friday night

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, broke the news Saturday: SF-based chain Philz Coffee, which has 59 locations in SoCal, Illinois, and along the East Coast, laid off 181 workers via an unsigned email Friday, sent with the subject line “Difficult News.”

There’s been word that all was not well at Philz for a couple weeks now: in late June, the SF Chronicle reported that Philz workers have reported locations to workplace safety regulatory board OSHA, alleging that mask wear and social distancing has not been enforced. KQED reports that “roughly a dozen employees” also told them of strife within Philz, including the company’s longstanding plan to give discounted coffee to police officers.

According to KQED, workers have been leafleting San Francisco with fliers critical of Philz’s safety protocols, and have also mounted social media campaigns in opposition to company policies.

None of that is alluded to in the letter to the laid-off workers (you can read it in full here), which says that the workers’ final day will be July 15, as “the severity and duration of the pandemic has been worse than Philz reasonably anticipated, and the company now must proceed with layoffs it hoped to originally avoid.” According to Schiffman’s source, however, those layoffs might have an element of inequity, as “employees with significant risk factors such as disabilities or caring for a weak relative remained on furlough and these are the people being unceremoniously dropped.”

And in other news...

  • Hayes Valley lunch spot Arlequin Cafe closed in April of 2019, with owners Absinthe Group (which also owns Absinthe, Bellota, and Comstock Saloon) saying then that its casual, counter-service wasn’t sustainable. Over a year later, the company’s opened a place called Arbor in the space, a takeout and delivery (at least for now) spot with a menu of items like cheeseburgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and vegan soft serve. [SF Chronicle]
  • 20-year-old Market Street pisco bar Destino closed last month, and owner James Schenk now says he’s looking for a smaller spot in the Castro to open a European-style cafe. [Hoodline]
  • It appears that disgraced restaurateur Nick Bovis’s troubles began long before his arrest in a San Francisco city hall corruption investigation, as landlord Ronald Fong says that Bovis started missing rent payments for beloved sports bar Lefty O’Doul’s in November of 2019. Fong’s now filed a lawsuit demanding $221,393 in back rent and $600,000 for water damage to the restaurant. [SF Business Times]
  • That’s It Market and Mission Bar have partnered to allow the latter to reopen, with That’s It’s Bourdain-famous cubano torta now available alongside Mission Bar’s trademark mezcaloni (a negroni, but with mezcal). [Mission Local]
  • Redwood City has launched an initiative called “Eat, Sip and Be in RWC,” with street closures planned on major thoroughfares to allow outdoor dining. [ABC 7]
  • Dogpatch gets its first grocery store with Mainstay Markets, a locally-owned produce, staples, and baked goods shop. [Hoodline]
  • South Bay food trucks used to rely on tech companies for business — but with those workers at home, the trucks are now heading to residential neighborhoods to deliver their wares. [KPIX]
  • Longtime SF society stringer Catherine Bigelow takes a long look at how the restaurants and bars of Clement Street are managing during the pandemic. [Nob Hill Gazette]
  • Iconic San Francisco chef Dominique Crenn was on 60 Minutes last night, and said the restaurant “industry is kaput, it’s done,” in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. [CBS]
  • Outer Sunset toast, java, and coconut spot Trouble Coffee will temporarily go dark as owner Giulietta Carrelli says she’s ripping out the spot’s bar and remodeling the space. [Trouble coffee/Instagram]

Trouble Coffee

4033 Judah Street, , CA 94122 (415) 682-4732 Visit Website

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