Employees blindsided as fast-food chain suddenly closes all its Wichita-area restaurants

Employees blindsided as fast-food chain suddenly closes all its Wichita-area restaurants


A manager at the Hardee’s at 2101 N. Rock Road in Derby said that employees were blindsided when the restaurant suddenly closed on Monday.

Samantha Blair, a shift manager who has worked at the restaurant since October, said she got a call before her shift on Monday informing her she didn’t need to come in. She went in at 9 a.m. today and was told that the store was closed permanently along with all the restaurants in Wichita.

She’s still not sure why.

“They didn’t tell us much,” she said, adding that her store had 27 employees.

The Derby Hardee’s plus three in Wichita — at 1320 N. Tyler Road, 2053 N. Amidon and 3216 E. Harry — are all owned by Capstone Restaurant Groupa Denver-based company that has 270 franchised restaurants in 16 states. Besides Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s, it also owns Taco Bell, Dunkin’ and Pizza Hut Express franchises.

No one from Capstone Restaurant Group immediately returned calls or emails on Tuesday morning.

Wichita had been a Hardee’s-free zone for 20 years when the chain returned to the market in January of 2016, starting with the restaurant at 21st and Amidon. As of Tuesday, the Hardee’s restaurants in Wichita and Derby are permanently closed.

Wichita had been a Hardee’s-free zone for 20 years when, in January 2016, the chain returned to the marketstarting with the restaurant at 21st and Amidon. That restaurant was followed by the Hardee’s at Harry and Hillside, which opened in February 2017, and the one at 13th and Tyler, which opened in August 2018.

The group owns a Topeka Hardee’s at 2300 N. Topeka Blvd. that also abruptly closed on Monday, Topeka media reported, although the city’s two other Hardee’s are still operating.

Capstone also appears to have operated the Hardee’s and Dunkin’ restaurants at three of Kansas Turnpike service stations — Topeka, Matfield Green and Towanda. All Hardee’s and Dunkin’ restaurants at those stations are closing and being replaced with other fast-food options, the Eagle recently reported.

Someone identifying himself as a local Hardee’s manager posted on the Wichita subreddit on Monday that he got a call from his general manager saying all stores were closing immediately and that all employees were out of jobs.

“Nobody was given a reason why,” the poster wrote. “…We were open all this morning and closed around 2 p.m. today to never open again. There was no warning or notice to anyone at all. 100+ people are out of jobs.”

Blair said she was preparing to move away from Wichita in a couple of months anyway, but now she has to look for a job to tide her over until she goes.

“I have a toddler I need to support,” she said.



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