The employees reportedly took issue with new management.

By Dave Quinn
February 28, 2019 03:51 PM
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Hungry Ohio residents looking to get their Sonic fix ran into a bit of a hiccup on Sunday, when employees at three of the fast food drive-in’s locations quit amid complaints of “terrible management” and wage disputes.

According to reports by The Scioto Post, staffers at Sonic in Circleville, Grove City and Lancaster all walked out, shutting down the stores and leaving dramatic notes for customers taped to the door.

Sources told the outlet that their mass exodus was spurred by the fact that corporate had bought the individual franchise stores and fired the regional director, two district managers, and four general managers in the process. Some had reportedly held management roles for the company for over seven years, one even working for the company for 11 years.

Other insiders said workers were unhappy that alleged pay cuts had been forced upon them, The Scioto Post reported, as management reduced their compensation from Ohio’s $8.55 minimum wage to a tipped employee wage of approximately $4.00 per hour. The letter Circleville staffers posted on the Sonic door alluded to both of those changes.

A representative for Sonic disputed this, saying “no wage rates at any level decreased as a result of this transition” but instead employees are now eligible for their paychecks to be direct deposited, and general managers are now eligible for a new bonus program.

Warning: Due to terrible management, the whole store has quit,” the note at Circleville said, according to a photo of it posted on social media. “The company has been sold to people that don’t give a f—- about anyone but themselves. Sorry for the inconvenience, but our team refuses to work for a company that treats their employees like s— when they have put everything into this store. We have worked too hard for top long. We are all off to better things.”

They signed the note with a very clear, “F— You.” They also posted a “Goodbye” and “Thank You, Next,” sign, The Scioto Post reported.

Employees in Grove City kept it far simpler, hanging “Sorry, we are closed” on their drive-through microphone, according to picture snapped by The Scioto Post. Over at Lancaster, staffers typed out a letter addressed to their management team and posted it to the door for anyone to read.

“We would just like to tell you cause you are the most trashiest company we have ever seen,” read the letter, as snapped by The Scioto Post. “To hide such information from your ‘team’ is unbelievable selfish and inconsiderate to the ‘people you care about.’ You guys pushed someone who has 11 years of Sonic under their belt for someone who has only been in the company for 6 months. She was loyal and would/did anything…asked of her. She gave 11 years of her blood, sweat and tears to this company only to get NOTHING but BACKSTABBED. So what makes you think that ANYONE else would want to work for someone as SLEEZY as you? Since 11 years of practice means s— to this company anymore, you lost another 9 years… and 8 years… and 5 years… and 2 years… and 2 years… and 1 year.”

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Sonic is owned by Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. The fast food chain is based out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Christi Woodworth, Vice President of Public Relations, tells PEOPLE that as of Monday, eight Sonic Drive-Ins in the Columbus, Ohio market were moved under new ownership and management as SRI Operating Company (an affiliate of the Sonic franchisor and operator of Sonic Drive-ins across the nation) is in the process of purchasing these drive-ins from a franchisee. ”

“Under new management, guests and the community can look forward to improved service and the famous food, beverages and treats for which SONIC is known,” Woodworth’s statement reads. “Employees working for the local drive-in can look forward to fun, fast-paced work on which they can build a career, if they choose. Most current employees will have the opportunity to continue to work at the drive-in under the new ownership.”

“We recognize that changes like this can be difficult for employees to understand and most current employees will have the opportunity to continue working at the drive-in,” it continued. “We look forward to being a part of the community for decades to come and appreciate the opportunity to serve our guests every day.”

Meanwhile, all three locations were open for business as of Thursday, staffers told PEOPLE over the phone.