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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.

Article Topic Follows: Business

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Leslie Cano

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


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