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Busy Bend restaurants reopen after temporary closure gives workers a paid break

'We told everybody go have some time, relax, do what you want to do'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Busy lunchtime rushes are normal at Bangers & Brews' two Bend restaurants.

It’s nothing the staff can’t handle, but being constantly busy is one of the reasons owner Marcelo Garcia decided to temporarily close his restaurants for almost two weeks -- to give employees a well-deserved, paid break.

“Everybody was working lots of hours, trying to make up for the people we did not have,” Garcia said Friday.

Garcia said he wanted to give his staff a break from the long hours they have been working due to the ongoing pandemic and employee shortage.

Brandon Lehmann, a frequent Bangers & Brews customer, said of Garcia: “He’s a good guy, and the food can’t be better, it’s awesome. We come here as much as we can.”

 Lehmann says he admires what Garcia did and was understanding about the closure.

Chelsea Lehmann, Brandon’s wife, another frequent customer, agrees.

“A lot of businesses are taking the opposite approach. They’re just working their employees to death," she said. "So you can tell that he is a family guy first, and his business means a lot to him, where he wants his employees to feel loved-- and we really appreciate that.”

Both Bangers & Brews locations, on the Eastside and Westside, closed on Oct. 9 and reopened Thursday.

“We told everybody go have some time, relax, do what you want to do, and when you get back you’ll have the job -- and meanwhile, you’re on vacation. We will pay you for your time off,” Garcia said.

Employee Frankie Garcia, who is also the owner’s daughter, was able to enjoy a trip to Montana and spend time with friends and family.

“From an employer to an employee, it shows how much you care about their mental health and their physical health, as well as their ability to perform at their best,” Frankie said.

Marcelo said he is thankful that his customers were understanding. 

“It’s just been great. It’s kind of warming to the heart, because you don’t expect that. You expect a lot of complaints, because you’re not open,” Marcelo said.

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Leslie Cano

Leslie Cano is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Leslie here.



  1. That is awesome they are taking care 0f their employees, good job!! Its crazy what happens when an employer actually cares and takes care of their employees! Now that everyone can’t blame the unemployment(even though that wasent the reason) are businesses going to take accountability? Maybe businesses should of been doing that stuff long before covid and they probably wouldn’t be having problems getting people to work for their company

  2. This says a lot about the owner. With all of the closures and restrictions over the last
    year and a half or so, I am sure that the owner has had a significant reduction in
    their revenue, yet they were still willing to close for two weeks and lose even more revenue,
    and on top of that pay the employees wages.

    1. – don’t be sure of any of the things you are sure of – successful, lucrative business plans can include being decent human beings and treating the people who make you money accordingly – many consumers actually prefer it and choose such establishments over ones that don’t – que milagro, no?

  3. It’s unfortunate that WAY more people are complaining about restaurants/businesses not being open full hours, complaining about prices with food items in high demand or being rude to employees even though its not their fault. Not everybody is understanding about a business trying to do the right thing.

  4. No sympathy whatsoever for the staff or owner. Get to work- yer part of a bigger community that depends on consistent operating hours. Hey- we’re all tired- sick of Brown’s kovid garbage- but when the going gets tough… Ya don’t shut down !

  5. Oregon is trying to put the whole kovid lie and hoax behind us- it’s time to get back to business as usual- my company doesn’t shut down- why should a food service operation feel the need ?

    1. I’ll let you be rude and uncaring once. Not multiple times.
      That customer in the story understood. Too bad you can’t.
      Hateful and offensive are judgment calls, and your further predictable attacks and questioning the judge will be deleted.
      Have a nice day.

  6. This could be a good news bad news story. If you are a server who gets low wage but relies on tips for the majority of income, this time off is not particularly a good thing. If the servers get a living wage and tips are just the icing on the income cake, it’s a good thing. Most servers in in plan A. I don’t know what the employees at Bangers and Brews get.

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