Kimbal Musk's Restaurant Chain Bilks Its $2/Hour Waitstaff Out Of Their Emergency "Family Fund"

If the "bait and switch" is becoming a Musk family tradition, Kimbal Musk could be learning from the best. But the brother of billionaire Elon Musk may have hit a new low in bilking money out of the staff at his own restaurants while calling them "family".

Rank and file employees, many waiters and waitresses making about $2 per hour before tips at Musk's Next Door restaurant chain, paid $2.50 per paycheck into an emergency fund that the chain was collecting. And when the coronavirus happened, the money wasn't there for them, according to the Huffington Post.

When Musk's chain of restaurants shut down for the pandemic, hourly workers were told they "would get no pay at all, though they were told they could access paid sick time". They reportedly "never got" their paid sick time, prompting many of them to apply for grants from the emergency fund they had been paying into. 

Reggie Moore, the former head chef at the Indianapolis Next Door, said what happened next was "pretty shady".

The company said they were altering the fund five days after the shutdown. “In an effort to better help our employees, we are in the process of revising our Family Fund program,” the restaurant wrote in an e-mail to employees.

They told employees they would need to re-apply for the Fund under the new parameters, but were never given a link to do so. 

“It’s a betrayal. It seems really sneaky,” one former Next Door manager said. “The Kitchen Restaurant Group did this 100% the wrong way. They took people who were loyal to them and they slammed the door in their face. I understand that sometimes business decisions must be made but doing it this way, I felt like it was really wrong.”

In Memphis, employees were confused. Employee Mason Whitman said: "It was a really uniquely encouraging atmosphere to work in. I never dreaded a single day of work."

Speaking about the fund, Whitman said: "It was designed to aid individual employees during times of hardship or injury. The only figures I've heard have been between 50 cents and $2 per week. You could select an amount from your check to be donated into that fund every week."

“There’s no reason for that fund to not be empty now. You’ve just lost employees — some are struggling financially."

So, Kimbal, where's the money?