South Lake Tahoe Chevys closes, employees shocked
On Christmas Eve, Chevys Fresh Mex in South Lake Tahoe served its last customers — a complete surprise to the chain’s 30 employees who had no idea the closure was coming.
The restaurant was closed for Christmas Day, but when some employees showed up for work the next day, they found locked doors.
Jennifer Eddy, who worked as a server at Chevys for over 12 years, said she was appalled at the lack of consideration given to employees.
“Showing up to work and being greeted by locked doors came as a complete shock. I was devastated. We were ready for high gear, all fully aware that these are the two weeks that we suffer through slow season for. This is what makes it worth it,” explained Eddy.
Kelly Jola, who also served at Chevys for 12 years, said the timing around the holidays could not have been worse.
“It’s horrible timing. If they were going to shut us down, they could have at least waited another two weeks and let us make our money,” said Jola.
“A lot of people have kids and they spent all the money on Christmas knowing that in the next two weeks they would make money to pay rent and bills. It was a complete shock to everyone.”
Sara Barker, spokesperson for Chevys’ parent company Real Mex Restaurants, said the timing of the closure had to do with when the company’s fiscal year ends — Dec. 26.
“In August, Real Mex announced its intent to make a major acquisition, which would effectively double the size of the company,” explained Barker in an email.
“In accordance with this plan, we are currently in negotiations and expect to make an acquisition announcement in the near future. In order to prepare ourselves for this growth, we have made the decision to close this underperforming restaurant.”
According to Barker, Chevys had an “amicable agreement” with the landlord at its South Lake Tahoe location, and is working on executing an early lease termination.
“Also, all of the South Lake Tahoe employees were offered positions elsewhere in the company and a number of them have chosen to relocate,” noted Barker.
There are several Chevys located in the Sacramento area, which would require employees to move off the hill.
“Although closing restaurants is never easy, we did it for the health of the company moving forward,” said Barker.
Southern California-based Real Mex Restaurants, according to its website, operates more than 100 restaurants and eight brands, including El Torito and Acapulco.