Statesboro’s Steak ‘n Shake closed Friday, reportedly without warning to employees, who claim they have not been paid wages due.
After confirming at the scene that the restaurant is closed, the Statesboro Herald spoke to four employees Monday who all said they have not received their last paychecks that are due. They also said the ones before that were returned for insufficient funds.
A spokesperson at the Georgia Department of Labor in Statesboro, who would not be identified because of not being authorized to share information, confirmed Monday that several employees of Statesboro’s Steak ‘n Shake have contacted the Statesboro Department of Labor office with complaints. The spokesperson said those employees were referred to the United States Department of Labor because the issue “is federal.”
Georgia Department of Labor’s public affairs officer David Bennett said concerns about pay matters are handled by the federal department. A call to the U.S. Department of Labor’s public affairs office Monday was not immediately returned.
“I started with Steak ‘n Shake in March,” said Jessica Golden, who said she had been a dedicated employee who worked a great deal of overtime.
She said a man she believes is the current owner, Stacey Lamont Brooks, will not return phone calls about bounced checks and unpaid wages. She also went to the Statesboro Department of Labor and was referred to the federal office, she said.
Both Golden and the restaurant’s former general manager, Hannah Darling, said they believe there is something suspicious about Brooks’ alleged ownership. Darling also has not been paid what she is owed.
“Things started in a downward spiral” in September when Brooks took over, including there being no supplies ordered, Darling said. “We have had to go out and buy things close to the products Steak ‘n Shake sells” to get by.
Only Brooks was allowed to order supplies, she said.
Demetrius Perkins and Keisha Grant, who also worked for the Statesboro restaurant, claimed they also have not been paid. Not only do they have bills to pay, but “right here at Christmas, we need our money,” Grant said.
Perkins said it has been more than six weeks since he was paid. Darling said it has been almost two months since some employees were paid correctly.
“Some were even stealing from the register because they had not been paid,” she said.
She quit her job recently due to the instability.
Calls made Monday to Nekillim Food Services, who purchased the franchise in 2018, were not immediately returned. Nekillem Foods is owned by Jeff and Lloyd Milliken.
Calls to Brooks, as well as to the Steak ‘n Shake corporate office, were also unreturned Monday.
The Statesboro Herald will continue to investigate the matter and will publish more information as it becomes available.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.