Why Bill is no longer with Carrabba’s…

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Well folks, I wrote a post on why my husband was let go from Carrabbas because I didn’t think it was fair to let people assume the worst, when it was about labor and kitchen costs. I didn’t want any moral ambiguity about why a top partner was let go from an extremely successful restaurant, suddenly, after ten years. He did nothing wrong and he worked extremely hard, right up to the day he was let go. He just couldn’t meet the company’s requirements for labor and food costs.

I posted it Sunday morning, August 3rd after I found out that corporate declined to let us send out a thank you/goodbye letter to his customer base through the company’s local email list.

And…it reached about 15,000 people in 24 hours. Wow. My goal was to get the news out to his customer base. I think that’s probably been accomplished at this point. If any of his customers wish to know the full explanation of why he is no longer there, they are welcome to contact me. (reb@rebekahruthbooks.com)

I took the original post down because I did not intend to start an internet debate about Corporate America or encourage people to boycott chain restaurants. Although I totally appreciate everyone’s support, we still know lots of people who work at Carrabba’s and its sister restaurants and we wish them success.

Thank you,

Rebekah

P.S. There are so many comments that I can’t reply to them all, but I want you to know I’ve read every one and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. It’s especially touching to hear so many stories from current or former employees and customers. Thank you!

 

UPDATE: 2016-Just for any who are wondering, Bill is doing really well working for Paychex. He helps small businesses with their payroll, (feel free to call him if you need payroll services! 445-0778) and that means he’s home on nights and weekends. We are loving that part of the change. He has been able to coach the boys in volleyball and baseball and he’s loving the “regular” hours a day job affords him. He still misses the people that he worked with and the fabulous regular customers but he’s very happy to spend more time with our family. And because of the ridiculousness with Carrabba’s, I started a career in real estate that’s going very well (call me if you’d like to buy or sell a house! 😉 598-6437) Thanks for checking in!

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100 thoughts on “Why Bill is no longer with Carrabba’s…”

  1. My daughter and I stumbled on to Carrabbas’s one late night as we were heading back to Canada. We fell in love with the restaurant in no small part due to Bill’s wonderful personality and great care for his patrons. We would always make sure to stop when ever we came to the area and enjoyed our chats with Bill. He was always passionate about the business and would love to discuss the pros and cons of the Canadian business model. Maybe that is why he always remembered us.
    The last time we were in town, I was sorry to see he was gone and now I know why. Seems so senseless to me when he had a thriving restaurant. I am glad to hear he has landed on his feet and is doing well. All the best to Bill and his family.

    1. Thank you Valerie! He loved seeing his regular customers…and talking about business in Canada 🙂 I will tell him you say hi!

  2. Sorry. Just found out. He’s a classy guy and we always enjoyed his warm greeting. Is there any way we can support you in the future? Dan and Beth (friends of Ray in Naples Carrabba’s)

  3. I was wondering why we hadn’t seen him! We (my family) frequent there very often. Just a heartless corporate greed move. I am so disappointed that his labors went unseen by the corporation and someone gave so much of they’re time and dedication only to be “cut” from they’re job and means of support for a family.shame on Carrabbas corporate big shots. I once seen a Bentley continental double parked in the handicapped aisles, I’m guessing that was the franchise owner. Oh, he wasn’t handicapped and the car was base price $180,000.00 yep that’s more than most homes for people. Again so sorry Bill.

  4. And for being a big corporation you get to pay less taxes because these are the businesses that are Giving the people their jobs so says the Gov. then how do you explain when they do this get rid of good people and cut corners saying they would go under if they did not so lets’s see what the top 1 percent of that company live like ….bet they don’t decide with the or partner what bills will get paid this month and what ones won’t . Things are way out of waco when you see Sandra Bullock made 53 million in a years time. I am sure she worked real hard for it in between her vacations and and getting awards for doing her job that they put
    3drealon TV How come Bill did not get and award he got fired…and why does a brilliant school teacher with 35 years experience makes 50 thousand a year after 5 years of school and 35 years of by the way after 11 years without a raise they gave my wife the teacher 200 dollar raise before taxes Whoa
    we may have to get a bigger bank to handle all that money….enough said see ya gota go

  5. Please let us know if Bill gets another job. If its with another restaurant our family will be sure to stop by and eat. Bill was always extremely pleasant and made us feel right at home. I can’t imagine him doing anything else with those kind of people skills.

  6. I will no longer go there. Absolutely disgusting. He was a fantastic manager. The fact that I knew him because of his wonderful customer service and wonderful personality says a lot for him. I generally don’t know a single person at a chain restaurant. Please let us know who is lucky enough to have Bill as their manager in the future!

  7. Bill was/ is a huge influence on my life professionally but more importantly personally. I opened that store with him 10+ years ago as a smart ass loud mouthed, quick to anger, hard headed grill cook. Bill and I had a rough relationship because of this but he refused to give up on me and more importantly he refused to let me give up on me. We had several hard conversations over the years as Bill was never one to shy away from telling you straight, but it was those talks that I still go back to now as a restaurant manager myself and it’s that model that has made me successful. Bill was never easy to work for, he demanded a lot and expected you to deliver all if not more, but it’s what made so many of us successful in this business. He’s grown more managers out of that staff than I can count and still would be. For all the friction he and I had, he was there for me personally when my father passed more so than I could have imagined. The full details aren’t something I’m not willing to share as they are too personal for such a forum but I will say, what other person would destroy his labor for a day so that anyone there who wanted to take an hour or 2 to come pay their respects could do so? He vastly over staffed the days of the wake so my friends and coworkers could do just that. Bill was that restaurant and cannot be replaced. As a long time employee and customer I can say that I’ve paid my last visit to the restaurant I grew up in.

    Bull

    1. I hear that. He also made your life rough by giving you a little midget understudy to try to mold into a “good enough” grill cook!

  8. Unfortunately that is corporate America. I too was let go after 10 plus years of always being available, working holidays, handling every conceivable issue or problem so that the owner could enjoy his life. When I finally started to speak up about all the silly changes and unrealistic to the real world rules, and also asked for some kindness and patience while I was going through a rough period in my life, the owners response wasn’t one of compassion and sympathy for a long employed, loyal, hard working manager. The response was, you are fired.

    Regarding Bill. I had many dealings with him in the past. He was always pleasant, appeared very confident and was always willing to work with me. A true asset to a company. A manager like Bill will not be unemployed for long. I would be happy to write a letter of recommendation.

  9. Norm Patten from Carabbas Bensalem,PA was a great partner too….Carabbas did the same thing to him from what I hear…place has not been the same since….I say why not boycott…hit them where it hurts….cure the greed….make corporate suffer. Hang in there Rebekah…and hat’s off to you for standing up to a monster! Good things come to good people and Bill seems like one of those people, as do you…my prayers are with you both…don’t back down#

  10. I have been a regular since the placed opened. The restaurant was always on top of their game. Employees were happy to be there and so was I. A well run machine when Bill was there. I never had a bad meal or service. And Bill was always there to greet you and ask how everything was. He always called us the church ladies . He ran the restaurant as if God was the owner. Always always doing his best. I have to believe that God has something better for Bill. When one door closes another one will open.

  11. I am sorry to hear that Bill is no longer there….I too thought he was an owner ….especially for the heart and soul that he shared there to make everything “Just Right” for any event or dinner. He is a GREAT Leader and a very kind Gentleman. Please Thank him for helping the Boys &Girls Club for the many special occasions and events that he helped us with. I know he will do well…..he is a fine man with a lovely lady behind him.

  12. I recently went to the restaurant with my family for dinner. We notices the restaurant wasn’t as busy as usual. We were greeted by our server and things went along pretty
    much as usual until it was time for the main course. We waited and waited. Our server
    never offered an explaination nor did anyone in management. The meal itself was
    prepared properly and was good. What was missing was the service. Other people in the restaurant were also complaining about the service. My wife and I noticed that the usual manager(Bill) that we always saw wasnt there and commented maybe that is why. I commented to Carrabba’s corporate website to make them aware of the situation and that is when I found out that Bill was no longer with the company. I told the person that Bill was an extremely compitent manager in my opinion. I futher told him that I had been in the restaurant when it was beyond capacity and gotten better service because of Bill. Bill was the most active, hands on manager that it has been my privilage to observe. I told my wife on many occasions that it is easy to see why Carrabba’s is such a success here with this type of leadership. I remember one time that we had an extended wait for our order when the restaurant was jammed. Bill took the time to stop by our table and apologize for the wait. It wasn’t really necessary to do that as anyone could see how busy the place was but Bill came by anyways. He further told us that there were alot of to go orders at the same time and that was making the kitchen even busier that it look. I really appreciated him taking the time to share with us what was going on and, as a business man, I respect him for doing so. At the time all I could think of is the dedication he has and the well deserved sucess it has given him.

    I am now shocked and disgusted with what has happened.

    I am sure that Bill’s leadership and dedication will serve him well in whatever he decides to do next. I can only hope that next time he can do the same things as “the owner” as he has an owner mentality and dedication and should reap the benefits as such.
    If you decide on such an endevor and need investors count me in.

  13. Bill always made me feel welcomed and at home at Carrabba’s, he made sure to come over to my table and say hello. Bill was also a big help to me when my students were looking for work. I can think off the top of my head of three students who had trouble finding work and Bill gave them dish washing postions. Bill was not only as asset to Carrabba’s, he was also an asset to the community. I am saddend to hear he is no longer with Carrabba’s. What a great loss!

  14. I can not believe that he will no longer be there. One of the nicest managers in the food industry that I have ever encountered. When we would go there we would look for him. His hospitality was above and beyond. It is a cruel world we live in when you have to deal with corporate A-holes who want more money so they make up BS to get rid of good true hard workers. I love Carrabba’s but I hope this bites them in the ass. Bill you don’t know me but might remember by face but best of luck to you and your family. Sorry this happened to such a good man. Best of luck my friend.

  15. Your husband is a lucky man to have you as his life long partner. I admire you for having the courage to speak the truth about the BS that he had to put up with at Carrabba’s. My family & I were not regulars there so I do not know your husband. I do however know what it’s like for the man of the family to give up alot of his own life & family time so he can take care of his family. Your husband sounds like a professional who would have let corporate tell their lies & he would just move on. Us women see what our husbands go through & cannot just “let it go”
    Thanks for standing up and speaking the truth. I WILL be sharing your story to more than 5 of my friends & those 5 friends will each tell more than 5 of their friends. I think you can tell where this is going 😉 Take that Corporate Carrabba’s!!
    We will be sure to spend our money at places other than your restaurants across the country.

  16. WOW, That Restaurant was Bills, He always made us feel very welcome and was an amazing person.If that is how this company treats there workers that do such an amazing job than we will never be at that establishment again.

  17. It’s truly sad what CORPORATE AMERICA has done. IT’S ALL GREED !!!!! There is NO longer a thank you to dedicated, loyal employee’s. If you dropped dead in your place of employment, they’d walk right over you or better yet step right on you and then replace you immediately. I worked many years for a company and saw so many changes that affected the employee’s. When employees work from the bottom up, they are loyal and dependable . They care about the company they work for. When Corporate America decided to down size, hire for cheaper wages, brought in outside firms to tell the company how to eliminate jobs, ALL FOR GREED is when companies started to fold and move out of the United States into foreign countries. Anyone losing their job after working for a company for several years does NOT deserve to be treated like Bill was. I wish you and your family the BEST of LUCK ! Sometimes things happen for a reason. There’s something better around the corner and God has you in mind !!!

  18. To Bill: Just wanted to thank you for the guidance, knowledge, and true friendship you shared with my daughter Meredith while you worked together all of these years. Meredith will tell you that she is stronger for having worked with you, both as a restaurant professional and a person. Thanks again to you, best of luck to you and your family – I know wherever you go you will make a difference. Best regards, Rich Scheiner

  19. I didn’t know Bill but walking into Carrabba’s and not seeing him there is like walking into your home and noticing your tv is missing but not fully realizing it. Bill and Family god bless and I pray you land on your feet at a higher place and more money!!!

  20. This was my favorite place to eat when I lived in Buffalo. I do remember seeing Bill everytime I was there. He was always friendly and worked very hard. We never had a bad experience. I am sorry things ended the way they did and I hope nothing but the best for your family.

  21. Such a sad lose for the area… He cared and it showed…. They will for sure have a hard time replacing him! And it just shows that corporate cares more about numbers than the people

  22. Ohhh I am well aware how corporate blow-hards work. They make the Big cash & sit in meetings attempting to find a way to increase dollars to ultimately go into their high living salaries. They never do studies on FEASABILITY & THE FINAL EFFECT….just what looks good & how it affects “the numbers.” I would almost think Carrubas could make it as a governmental entity. My sadness is for myself & the other customers. I dine out quite a bit and I believe I have only received that type of hospitality a handful of times at restaurants in Buffalo.Although I didn’t know your husband or family personally, I remember the face coming over to our table inquiring how we were enjoying our meal, etc. As for your husband…I cannot believe he has not been inundated with job opportunity requests from successful businessmen. Everything happens for a reason & I am also glad to hear this for your husband & father to your children & his health. I cannot wait to hear humanity is not dead & people recognize what an asset employees such as your husband can be. Those who strive for “long lasting” success will. Prayers to you & your family and enjoy the moment.

  23. This is a huge loss to Carrabbas. We’ve been going there since it opened. We always talked about what a dedicated manager/owner he was and looked for him every time we went in. The funny thing is, we’ve been to Carrabbas in Florida and the quality of the food and the cleanliness of the building were no match for Amherst. We will definitely think twice before eating there again. Buffalo is full of wonderful restaurants! Let us know where he ends up, we will follow.

  24. I loved him. Me and my husband were there a few months ago and the cook forgot to cook my husbands steak and because of the wait he took the steak of the bill, he said he would give us a discount but I didn’t expect that. Anytime we were there he always came and said hi and asked how everything was and we never had a complaint. Good luck and enjoy spending time with your family until you figure out what you’re going to do.

  25. So very sorry to you and your family/ your words sum up the cruel nature of corporate America. I avoid chain restuarants and your story gave me another reason to keep avoiding them. I enjoy Bonefish but will now boycott since it is affiliated with Carabba’s. A dear friend of mine gave many years of his professional life to Red Lobster only to be thrown away like garbage when the powers that be decided he was done. He pursued legally based on age discrimination and won! He now operates a food truck and feels relief in knowing he is his own person. You are not alone. I pray your husband will find a new job that is meaningful, kinder and can still manage to provide for your family.

  26. I am sadden & shocked to hear this my family & I love Bill & Carrabba’s Bill made everything perfect there & made u feel like family :”( they made a HUGE mistake one that will be irreversible!!! Wishing u & ur family nothing, But love & luck….<3

  27. I will miss Bill terribly. I noticed his absence but just hoped he was on a long vacation. I once had a slight melt down in Carrabba’s during law school when I was stressed out from exams and my food was cold. Bill got me a brand new dinner and a free dessert and told me it was all going to be good (and it was and is). I hope you and your family find a new normal where Bill is happy and your kids don’t have to worry about their dad. If Bill ever opens a restaurant here, I would love to become a regular. Please keep us posted, and I will subscribe to your blog through my wordpress.

  28. I am so sorry to hear about Bill losing his job. My sentiments are expressed in your letter and in many of the above comments. He will be missed. This must be so difficult for the employees. Carrabbas is my favorite restaurant, I will not say I will boycott the restaurant as this will only hurt the other employees. I am sure that in time, corporate will realize their error, it will be too late. I truly wish Bill and his family the best, I am sure that he will recover quickly because of his work ethic and his personality. This may seem like a horrible disservice now but it may have been the best for his health, happiness and family life. Please let us know where your new job takes you, we look forward to seeing you again.

  29. I cant believe it ! I was just asking my mom if she has seen him. He always came to the table and made us feel like we were family and so welcomed. My mom goes there all the time and says she hasnt seen him and it hasnt been the same.. He will definitely be missed ! It is so hard to find puerile that are paasionate about their jobs and when u finally find them corporate doesn’t appreciate it ! Sad he will truly be missed !

  30. I am really very sorry to hear what happened. I have to apologize that I have not been there too many times over the last year – but I associate Bill/Carabbas and Carabbas/Bill… one just doesn’t go without the other. I know he truly loved the job and loved the product – it showed!

    I wish you and your family the best – please keep us informed as to where Bill ends up as we will come patronize his next en devour!

  31. I don’t know you or your family but I have family in Buffalo and Amherst and I totally understand the frustration. I work in the restaurant business and fight to cut labor hours constantly! Thankfully I work for a locally owned restaurant so corporate is not a problem, however, turnover of cooks, servers, and bartenders is. It is so hard to cut labor hours when you feel all you do is train new employees or pay overtime because people don’t stay long and you just can’t run short staffed.
    My prayers are with your family and I’m sure there is a better plan for you. God bless!

  32. We were just there last week Thursday. It was empty ….we were seated….I ordered calamari…..with butter lemon sauce….the sauce didn’t even look the same let alone taste the same.The calamari were rubbery. I asked Rachel our waitress to send them back. We got another batch…the sauce still didn’t look the same. We then ordered our dinners. I ordered pasta con vodka….ummmmm not pasta con vodka at all. I complained to our waitress and she sent some guy over ( I was expecting Bill….The guy who always came around with a smile on his face to ask how everything was) …I guess this was the new manager….whats wrong with your dinner? I told him….he asked if I ever had their pasta con vodka sauce…I said many times…and this one just tastes like regular sauce…..he was kinda rude and very defensive. I said look I will talk to Bill….he paused and said fine I will take it off your bill. Later….Rachel came over and as soon as I asked for Bill….she couldn’t help it and started crying. ..and told us that he was no longer there and he was like a father to all of them. I looked over and saw the ” new manager” ….up front where they cook sitting and eating and laughing and carrying on with the cooks…..yay it was like a bad episode like the ones that will be closing cause one good caring exceptionally person is gone. I for one won’t be back. Bad atmosphere and no smiles…..and food was horrible that night. The new manager….is not manger quality. Bill we will miss you. You always always ran the show there and you were the star at that place. Too bad for carabbas!

  33. This is such sad news! Our family has been coming to Carrabbas since just after it opened. We looked forward to going and it is my favorite restaurant. Why do I love it? Because from the time we walked in the door until the time we left, we felt like we were home. The atmosphere, the staff, the food and most importantly, Bill. As many have said, he was there to greet us with warm smiles every time we were there. He cared about our food and our experience. We have rarely had less than perfect food and when it wasn’t, he made sure it was corrected. We will be torn about ever going back there because although we don’t want the current employees to suffer , we also do not want to support a company that clearly doesn’t care about it’s employees or customers. If Bill ever decides to pursue a new restaurant, we would love to become regulars there. Praying that this time will be fruitful and restful and your family finds a clear direction. We wish you the best. Tell Bill THANK YOU for 10 wonderful years. He has so much to be proud of!

  34. I’m sorry to here of anyone losing a job today.
    To think a large corporate restaurant would fire a great person over labor seems a little one sided.
    I work in this restaurant and I want to offer some perspective.
    Bill is a great mentor and great motivator. He is genuinely a great person. But our restaurant needed a change in direction.
    I have worked at many restaurants and actually other Carrabbas. In other stores we actually did well with “numbers” and had a great time serving great food and taking care of guests. No one was “beat down”.
    In my experience, we weren’t as clean as others or run as well as others. Our managers seemed lost. I don’t know the supervisor well but he was always positive and had been in several times asking for input and trying to make a difference.you should see all the work they are doing and all the supplies they are finally buying us.. It seemed nobody wanted to change. Bill actually always told us that you have to adapt in this business.. Ironic huh?

    I wish you all well. If all of you boycott Carrabbas then you’re actually hurting all of us that took care of you in the first place.
    Good luck.

    1. Bill was the restaurant. He was extremely passionate and we could see how hard working he was. Wow. What a loss. I cannot believe what are they thinking ? ! You just expect to see him. Sorry. I wish him and your family the best. He’s better off. Than for corporate to make people and their livelihood SICK. Seen it in the past where I was. Life’s too short.

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