In the middle of the coronavirus crisis, Houston-based restaurateur Tilman Fertitta has temporarily laid off more than 40,000 employees across his hospitality empire.
The layoffs impact workers at major restaurant chains and hotels owned by Fertitta, including Landry’s, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, and the Post Oak Hotel in Houston. According to Bloomberg, Fertitta is calling on state and federal officials to allow his businesses to “reopen at limited capacity” in the next couple of weeks to help stem losses sustained by his business.
“I want to hire every employee back,” Fertitta told Bloomberg. “This is very hard on a lot of working families but we have to survive or there is no company.”
Last week, a memo issued by a general manager at Fertitta’s Post Oak Hotel telling employees that they would not be able to take paid time off during the novel coronavirus pandemic sparked outrage. A spokesperson for Fertitta said that the hospitality magnate was not aware of the memo that was sent to employees, and the hotel ultimately reversed course.
Per Forbes, Fertitta is still worth about $4.6 billion despite the current economic uncertainty. As Eater noted previously, he’s spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past year acquiring new restaurant chains.