Bloomin’ Brands, the company that owns several casual dining restaurant chains, is significantly reducing the hours of thousands of workers nationwide – including 702 Outback Steakhouse employees in Connecticut – in response to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
The company, which also operates the Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar chains, said it began significantly reducing the number of working hours for the vast majority of its restaurant employees in March.
Affected employees are being notified electronically or by mail this week. “At this time, the company does not anticipate any future layoffs. If further changes occur, the company will notify affected employees accordingly,” Marquis Heilig, Bloomin’ Brands vice president, litigation, wrote to the Connecticut Department of Labor.
“The company expects this change to be temporary and is hopeful that employees will be recalled to hours approximately equivalent to pre-pandemic hours,” Heilig continued. “The company is optimistic that operations will resume as normal when the current COVID-19 pandemic has been contained. In the meantime, we have provided four weeks of relief pay to employees with vastly reduced hours.”
The cutbacks are taking place at nine Outbacks around the state, as well as at a Fleming’s in West Hartford.
Affected workers in Fairfield County include 64 at 14 Danbury Road in Wilton; 89 at 698 Bridgeport Ave. in Shelton; and 66 at 116 Newtown Road in Danbury.