It’s confirmed: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced tech-forward fresh food restaurant chain Sweetgreen to reduce headcount.
According to a report on LA-centric new site dot.LA, the company is laying off approximately 10% of its 350 person HQ staff.
The Spoon was the first to report of potential layoffs a couple of weeks ago when I got wind of some reductions-in-force whispers and had confirmed the departure of the company’s head of automation Derek Pietz and director of engineering Ken Cottle. With this news, Dot.LA was able to confirm that the layoffs were much broader than just the tech team and started in late March. From the report:
“Dozens of terminated workers were read a pre-written script at the end of last month and were then logged-out of their Slack and email accounts. “They blindsided us and they weren’t transparent,” said a former employee, who declined to be identified because Sweetgreen made him sign a nondisclosure agreement. “It was disappointing to have five years of the company end like that.”
It’s too soon to tell what things will look like on the other side of the pandemic. Sweetgreen, like many restaurants, has pivoted to help where they can, but also has had to halt parts of their normal operations. The company, which raised $150 million in fresh funding last fall, is likely paring back to lower its cash burn rate.
We’ll continue to keep an eye on this story as it unfolds.