5 Napkin Burger Might Be An Asshole

In case you haven’t heard, New York City was hit yesterday with a bitch of a hurricane named Sandy. The only way you wouldn’t know about this is if you live under a rock or a bridge like a skanky gutter troll, so yeah, maybe Springs1 hasn’t heard yet. Anyway, it’s pretty bad around here. Trees are on the road, there are millions of people without any power and the subways are not running because there is more water in the tunnels than there is in a Jack and Coke at a dive bar. It is a time when you really learn to set your priorities in order like food, water and survival. However, if you are the general manager at 5 Napkin Burger in Hell’s Kitchen, your only priority is to get that restaurant back open so you can serve some damn hamburgers!

I was contacted by a reader, who shall remain nameless since we don’t want to get him or her in trouble, about an email about their job at 5 Napkin. It was sent by the general manager last night at 8:00 PM, which is pretty much when Sandy was at the height of her bitchiness. It alerted all hourly employees to expect to open the next day. So while buildings were falling apart and tankers were being washed ashore, this asshole was all about “how can I sell some more bacon cheddar burgers.” This morning at 11;45, they got another email telling them that since the subways are not running, to take a cab in and they will be reimbursed the money. I was told that this was the same offer given to them during last year’s Hurricane Irene and they are still awaiting that reimbursement money.

Hey, 5 Napkin Burger in Hell’s Kitchen: have some fucking compassion, assholes. Most of your employees probably don’t even have fucking electricity so how in the hell are they supposed to iron their uniforms before they show up to work. Do you really want a bunch of wrinkled servers taking orders today? Maybe some folks didn’t sleep last night since there were 90 mph blowing through their apartments but sure, you wanna sell some Lobster Roll Sliders, so by all means force your employees to figure out how to get to work.

It’s really a double-edged sword for those if us in the restaurant industry because if we don’t work, we don’t make money. As much as someone would want to stay home and pump the Hudson River out of their bedroom, maybe they need to go to work so they can make a few dollars to replace all the food in their fridge that is spoiling since the power has been out for 18 hours. Being a waiter isn’t like working on salary in an office where if the place shuts down, you’ll still get paid. When restaurants close down, we lose money and we don’t get a chance to make it up. We can’t claim a personal or vacation day because for most restaurant workers, those are as foreign as 401K’s and pensions.

Maybe the right thing to do was for 5 Napkin Burger to see how many servers were able to make it to work and how many of them wanted to do so. It’s just plain asshole behavior to demand attendance the morning after New York City’s worst storm in the history of ever. I get it: 5 Napkin needs to make money. I also get that some servers would want to be there if they could. But there has to be a balance of business and compassion. If your employee says he’s not going to be able to make it into work because of a natural disaster unlike anyone proceeding it, then you just have to buck up and say, “Well, we’ll do without you, but as soon as you can get back to work, we’ll be ready to have you.” If the mayor of New York City is telling people to stay home unless they absolutely must go out, I don’t think selling french fries is enough of a reason to change his mind.

To my friend who has to go to 5 Napkin today, I’m sorry. I hope you either figure out a way to make it to work or your boss changes his mind. If you do go to work, I hope you make shitloads of tips and if you end up staying at home I hope missing out on another day of tips doesn’t put you too far into a hole. And speaking of a-holes: 5 Napkin Burger.

Please share this, so maybe it will make it to the manager at 5 Napkin Burger on Ninth Ave.

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33 thoughts on “5 Napkin Burger Might Be An Asshole

  1. Anonymous

    My boss kept our bar open through the hurricane and is also open all day and night today for business. Talk about not giving a shit about your employees. What if someone got hurt on their way to/from work?

  2. anne marie in philly

    it's all about the almighty dollar; fuck the employees. I won't be dining at "5 napkin burger"; to me they are on par with "chick-fil-a-holes".my workplace has been closed the past 2 days; no electricity. spouse's workplace has also been closed the past 2 days; flooding. POINT – there ARE some places that know how to treat workers fairly.

  3. Anonymous

    How is anyone from outside Manhattan supposed to get in by taxi? Bridges are closed, tunnels are flooded! And how do they even know that anyone got that email? Idiots.

  4. Anonymous

    I was so happy to see your tweet earlier today. The photos of Brooklyn had me worried. Fuck sanitary napkin burger. Seriously. A city looks like Atlantis, and these fools are worried about making money. Ridiculous.

  5. Anonymous

    The restaurant my husband works at was open yesterday and today and Sunday night they put everyone up in a hotel so they'd be able to get to work Monday morning. They did close a little early Monday afternoon but still.

  6. Anonymous

    I doubt anyone has to worry about being fired for not showing up on the first day of re-open if they can't get there or have damage to their home. That said…hellooooo…yes the restaurant needs to re-open ASAP. And why WOULDN'T you want to go to work if you can get there? WTF are you going to do at home? Been there on the hurricane front more than once…….the storms are a fantastic opportunity to gossip and make money (plus you get to eat hot food if you don't have power at your home). Working at the restaurant has always beat being home with no power (no A/C or hot water) and watching TV run on a noisy generator. ~the Damn Yankee

  7. Anonymous

    I think the Owner and Manager should be shakled and put into the stocks and all the employees and patrons can throw all the rotten food from the restaurant at them!

  8. Anonymous

    Did the manager try some bullshit line like, "We have to feed all the first responders, hospital workers and stranded tourists?" Because a National Guardsman caked in muck needs his Wagyu beef and gin and tonic?

  9. Anonymous

    The bunch of douchebags is larger than you think. My employer (huge medical college) also expects people to quit trying to restore their lives, abandon kids to fend for themselves as schools are closed, and when reminded there are no trains to get to Manhattan from flooded Queens, get this: "TAKE A BUS" was the response. Yup. Compassion and understanding. ~PolishSpring

  10. Kevin Fields / KAM

    Don't keep posting on their Facebook page where it gets deleted. Post on the Facebook pages of NYC media outlets and blogs. Send e-mails to newspaper editors. Make the world aware of it, and they'll republish it for you Second, swamp their phone lines. They can ignore a ringing phone, at the risk of ignoring their customers and vendors as well.

  11. bohemian

    I tried to send a message to their corporate offices, but can't find where to send it, so ended up leaving a message on their Facebook page (which will likely be deleted).

  12. Fool Critic

    "I was contacted by a reader, who shall remain nameless since we don't want to get him or her in trouble, about an email…" Careful, you revealed the submitter's gender in the next word.

  13. Stwo

    People need to eat. A restaurant opening on the day after a disaster is a blessing. If you think of only your self in a situation like this, YOU"RE the asshole.

  14. Anonymous

    I don't see why everyone is making such angry nasty comments. it seems to be a small business wanted to stay open to feed it's community, pay it's workers and be a haven from the storm.

  15. mary i

    I understand the need to make money,got it.BUT this is wrong to do this to servers etc. Is this place doing anything to help such a donating meals to disaster workers? I bet the employees that come in wont get a free meal.Yeah where is the compassion? I lived through a big twister down here in Ala.So I know Storms suck and Sandy is way worse..Head up Glad are safe…

  16. California Girl

    Maybe 5 Napkin Burger should have supplies free food to first responders, people rendered homeless, etc. Why, Janet Napolitano is live on the air talking about all the volunteer work, meals, shelters, search & rescue workers, etc working round the clock to restore order, utilities, normalcy. Maybe 5 Napkin Burger shoulda thought about the positive publicity he/she/it might have generated by participating to restore order instead of capitalizing on the disaster.

  17. Anonymous

    I'm sorry you have all been misled by whomever chose to tell you lies about the way the hurricane situation was handled here at 5 Napkin. I am an employee of the restaurant and have been here for over three years. I received all of the emails that the anonymous employee did and nowhere did any manager express that it was unacceptable to not come in to work. If anything the emails sent expressed that if anyone felt uncomfortable being at work they should opt to stay home. Those that did work for those few days came in of their own volition and provided comfort, phone charges for those in need, and I'm sure some much needed community support.Personally I would hope that any blogger would try and hear both sides of a story before posting any defaming comments in an untrue fashion.Lastly as I work both on the bar and the floor of this restaurant I have seen first hand how everyone who did take a cab into work has been fully reimbursed.

  18. Anonymous

    I've been working at this 5 Napkin for 1.5 years and this is total Bull. Those that were not able to come to work, were not in trouble. They did not receive any kind punishment. We were one of many, many restaurants who were open, and the guest that came were ecstatic that we were open. They had a place to eat and charge their phones and share a sense of community. You're blog is worthless and you really need to check your sources before publishing.

  19. The Bitchy Waiter

    Yes, I will check my sources from now on because this blog is exactly like CNN. Please. I was in contact with the server and only passed on the information that was told to me. Love your burgers, mean it.

  20. Karen

    WOW! This doesn't surprise me, I have worked in some restaurants where I'm in disbelief at some of the demands they make. Offering double pay and overtime and then OOPS! Kidding! To demand someone to come into work when they possibly could be homeless [dunno how bad the damage really was] is just malicious and greedy!

  21. Anonymous

    My boyfriend and I live in New Orleans. He almost got fired when we evacuated for Hurricane Isaac this year. We stuck it out for the actual storm but once it became clear that the electricity was going to take a while to come back on, we decided to leave and stay with family. Both of us have asthma so staying in the heat (our house got up to about 90 degrees) was not an option for us. They threatened to fire him for not coming into work because "everyone else had power" (this was when 70% of the Greater New Orleans area did NOT have power). At least they were nice enough to call though. How the hell do you check e-mail during/after a hurricane?

  22. Anonymous

    That is ridiculous!!! The Italian restaurant I recently quit caught on fire because of wood fired pizza oven's chimney not being clean enough. The owner/manager had the servers, dishwashers, and cooks, cleaning up the smoke, water, and debris-filled back of house so they could open that night. A health inspector came in and said no way, you have to have professionals come and clean this up (and they get paid over $20 an hour, mind you, for working in a dangerous environment. not $2.83 an hour). He still made the staff clean so he could try to pass inspection without having to pay professionals. They did open that night. If I didn't quit when I did, I sure as hell would've quit that day!


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