CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The North Carolina-based Bojangles chain of restaurants announced Friday it will close all of its company-owned establishments on two upcoming days, portraying it as a chance to provide its thousands of employees a "well-deserved break" amid very challenging times.
But Bojangles' employees will not get paid for those days off.
In a statement, the chicken and biscuit chain described its 8,000 crew members and managers as its "most vital asset." It encouraged them to use the upcoming closures on Aug. 30 and Sept. 13 for an opportunity to "rest and recharge."
The closures do not apply to the stores in the Triangle that are owned and operated by Tri-Arc Food Systems.
The restaurant company's written statement made no mention of whether its workers would be compensated during these closures, framing it as a "benefit" to its valued employees that would support their health and well-being.
The Associated Press asked company spokesperson Stacey McCray to clarify whether staffers would be paid. In an email, McCray responded: "The two days will be unpaid."
Responding to subsequent questions, she said many staff have been working overtime lately and the company thinks they would benefit from having a couple of days off. She said Bojangles would offer employees opportunities to work additional hours if they chose.
Bojangles said the upcoming closures were "in response to industry-wide labor shortages and other stresses put on its employees who've worked hard through the pandemic."
It was not immediately clear what Bojangles employees thought of the unpaid days off. Employees reached by phone at various restaurants referred calls to the corporate office.
Bojangles was founded in Charlotte in 1977 and has restaurants in more than a dozen states, including in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.