MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The owner of a Wendy’s restaurant in Duluth, Minn. is paying 30 employees for months of work, even though the restaurant is closed.

The restaurant closed after it caught fire in January, but the owner is still cutting checks.

In the winter nights it sits cold. Warm food won’t be served for some time.

“That was my 7 o’clock morning phone call, ‘Hey, Wendy’s is on fire.’ I was like, ‘What, are you serious?'” said Wendy’s shift manager Erica Bang.

It meant the mother of two wouldn’t be going to work for a while.

“Wait, what am I going to do? Am I gonna have a job? The scare, like, set in after that,” Bang said.

Now a shift manager, working for Wendy’s was her first job. She’s been with the chain for 12 years and knows her 20-plus co-workers well.

“There’s people who’ve been there for 10 years, 25 years. There’s very committed people there,” Bang said.

Because they are so committed, the owner of the restaurant who lives in Brainerd, Minn. made a commitment to them.

So even though service has stopped, he’s going to keep every single employee on the payroll until the place reopens.

“We certainly don’t want to lose those people. It’s a pretty easy decision to make. I mean, you know, all these people have real lives and they have their real bills, and rent to pay, and house payments,” owner Bob Sullivan said.

“I was so happy … I have my bills, I have my truck payment, I have my kids,” Bang said.

She also has some extra time to spend with them.

All because of a boss who knows what he wants and knows what they need.

“Thank you so much for this. It is amazing and everyone’s grateful for it,” Bang said.

Repairs to the building may be finished by next month.

Even if the project is behind schedule, Sullivan said he’ll pay his employees as long as he possibly can.


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