Nashville restaurant employees ‘surprised’ by sudden closure, claims no notice given

The closure of a restaurant is causing a lot of controversy causing former workers to protest at a sister restaurant, Sharon Danquah reports.
Published: Aug. 27, 2022 at 12:03 PM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Chaatable employees gathered in protest after the restaurant closed its doors to the public Friday.

Sources told WSMV4 that Chaatable employees had been planning to band together in protest of the restaurant due to the store’s “uncertain future” after hearing from Maneet Chauhan, Celebrity Chef, and Chaatable manager, that the restaurant could be closing soon.

“Maneet had said they would be closing soon, but after she heard about the union, they closed yesterday. We know nothing about job security or anything like that,” former Chaatable employee Jeffery Deadwood told us. “She encouraged us to start looking for new jobs. No one has said anything to us. I was supposed to be paid yesterday because I get paper checks, and now they’re closed, so I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”

While some employees believed they were not given a fair warning, others believed the restaurant handled the situation the best they could at the time. “We as employees were given notice months ago that the building was up on the market, but nothing changed besides the fact that they were looking for a different building,” said Chaatable employee Justin Gillespie. “They said they would give us notice when they had it, but they cannot give us the information they don’t have.”

Some workers had planned to file for a union within the week and had sent the following email as a group, requesting a meeting with management to discuss rumors they had heard about the store’s closure:

Deadwood said when employees arrived for work on Friday, they were surprised to find a note from management that said the following:

Employees told WSMV4 the restaurant gave no notice to the closure after an email was sent
Employees told WSMV4 the restaurant gave no notice to the closure after an email was sent(Jeffery Deadwood)

WSMV4 reached out to Chaatable management for a response and received the following statement:

Deadwood added that the staff is unsure what the future holds for them at this time and has not received any notice from management regarding future employment.

“As someone who worked in this restaurant for almost three years, I do not feel any ill will towards Maneet and the management of Morph Hospitality. Restaurants close all of the time in much sneakier manners,” Gillespie said. “At least with Chaatable, the owners came in to talk to us about what was going on and ask us if we have questions.”

On Saturday, the protests continued.

Brenda Waybrant was one of many others who came to work on Aug. 26 and found the notice on the front door that left them speechless.

After months of working at the Chaatable Indian restaurant on Charlotte Pike, Waybrant said rumors began to spread of the restaurant relocating.

“As far as I know there was a meeting earlier this week and my coworkers were told that we could potentially be closing,” Waybrant said. “The building had been put up for sublease but they didn’t have a timeline for it, it could be in a couple of days or a couple of weeks or a couple of months.”

Two days later, the doors closed and Paul Sponsler, a now former host at the restaurant, said he heard the same statement. On that day he and many other employees decided to request a Workers Union the sign went up and doors closed.

“I’m fairly certain that because they found out about this, they decided to close without any notice,” Sponsler said.

We asked the owners of Chaatable if that was the case, and we were told unionizing efforts had nothing to do with their closure, however workers said they feel cheated.

“We are asking for a meeting, for some honesty and clarity and transparency,” Waybrant said. “(We) want a clear statement from the owners and we are also asking for two weeks of severance pay.”

Waybrant and a number of other employees stood in front of Chaatable’s sister restaurant, Chauchan Ale and Masala where they were begging to be heard.

“We put our financial security into somebody else’s hands and we deserve to know if that financial security will be shifted in anyway shape or form,” Waybrant said.

Former employees said they will continue to protest at the same place on Sunday.

This is a developing story.