TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It came in as a screenshot of a letter to the group chat all the employees shared.
“As a result the restaurant known as CASK will no longer be open for business as of today,” the letter read.
And just like that, Cask Social, the popular Southern eatery in the SoHo neighborhood of Tampa was closed.
“Feels like I’m a piece of crap, basically,” said Omar Elgaouni. “They don’t really care about us.”
Former employees of Cask Social felt betrayed after they lost all their jobs with little to no warning.
“It was hard for me because I do have student loans to pay for,” Elgaouni said. “I have my rent, I have my dog.”
Elgaouni was a bartender for a few months at Cask.
“Now I have to go out and try to find another job without notice, and that’s what’s really hard about it,” Elgaouni explained. “If we were given a two-week notice, that could have given us enough time to find other employment.”
His fellow workers agree.
“We should have gotten more from the owners other than a cut off text,” said Chiquita Davis. “Some resources to help us stay on our feet within the next couple of weeks.”
Former hostess and single mother Chiquita Davis has mouths to feed.
“My kids are going to be out of school for spring break,” Davis said. “So that paycheck, what I was getting ready to receive for the coming weeks, for spring break, was going to help out with my girls.”
The place was sold to LALA St. Pete, a karaoke bar and restaurant, with plans to make a LALA Tampa.
“I’m just beside myself, and I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Krystal Lynett. “And I’m really, really sad that my family is no longer.”
In a phone call with 8 On Your Side, former Cask Social co-owner Stephen Bishop said he couldn’t tell the staff ahead of time or else it would ruin the deal. He also expressed fears of employees leaving before the sale.
“There is no such thing as advance notice,” Bishop said. “You just don’t know it’s going to sell until it sells.”
Bishop said he made job offers to a number of people, especially back-of-house workers, and provided resources for others.
But others, like bar manager Krystal Lynett, don’t feel that’s enough.
“It’s so incredibly disappointing that I was treated thus,” Lynett said. “It’s disgusting, actually.”
Elgaouni made a GoFundMe to support both front and back-of-house staff while they try to find new jobs. If you’d like to help out or know of a job for someone, you can contact him or donate here.