This Company Is Laying Off Employees Via Text Message
Fast casual chain Dig offers a real-time case study in how not to handle tough economic times
For the better part of the past decade, hungry, fashionable, and mostly millennial office workers in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia have assembled in snaking, overflowing lines at the 32 locations of Dig — formerly known as Dig Inn — to get their fast-casual lunchtime fix. Behind the counter, workers swirl about in controlled chaos, serving up a desk-friendly farm-to-table fantasy: some combination of wild salmon filet, farro, roasted Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower in a biodegradable to-go container for the lunchtime trade-up cost of about $12.
Founded in 2011 by former private equity associate Adam Eskin, Dig has built a following of lunchtime customers loyal to its vegetable-forward offerings, often sourced right from regional farms. Bolstered by investments from the likes of restaurateur Danny Meyer and other venture capital and private equity cash infusions, Dig helped usher in the Sweetgreenization of buzzing startup office districts along the East Coast.
But on Monday evening — on the heels of mass quarantines, a market crash, and a reeling restaurant industry — an estimated 40% of Dig’s 100-person corporate workforce was laid off across the Manhattan-based company. Staffers were informed via text message. A phone call followed 15 minutes later. Employees were told about their layoffs one by one, a laid-off employee (who requested anonymity) told me. “I knew the layoffs would happen — you could anticipate they were going to happen, given everything happening right now with the service industry in New York,” the former employee told me. “But when it happened, how it happened was a lot faster than I expected.”
As companies across virtually every industry brace for a coronavirus-triggered recession, Dig is a real-time case study in how not to let go of talent.
For laid-off workers, digital communications like email were shut off at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, just an hour or two after employees were informed of their termination. Each employee received two weeks of severance…