Financing

Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s parent company lays off workers

Focus Brands, which also owns Jamba, McAlister’s Deli and several other brands, is offering relief pay and deferring or waiving franchisees’ fees.
Photograph by Jonathan Maze

Focus Brands, the operator of numerous brands including Cinnabon and Jamba, laid off 136 employees at its Atlanta headquarters earlier this week, according to a recent federal layoff notice.

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice out of Georgia indicates the company let go of the workers Monday.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our industry dramatically, and adjusting to the new reality has forced everyone to make difficult decisions,” Angie Champsaur, spokesperson for Focus Brands, said in an emailed statement. “Recently we made some personnel decisions that weighed heavily on our hearts, and for all corporate and store employees who have been impacted we are offering relief pay and working to support them through this challenging transition. Our teammates and associates have all played a role in making our brands what they are today, bringing joy to so many around the world, and we are grateful for their meaningful contributions.”

“Looking ahead, we are confident that Focus Brands will weather this storm and we will continue to do everything we can to take care of our guests, employees and independent franchise business owners as we set the stage for a brighter future,” she said.

Focus operates largely franchised brands, including Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli and Schlotzsky’s in addition to Jamba and Cinnabon.

Franchisors face significant challenges as their franchisees’ sales dry up, draining them of royalties and other payments.

Focus said this week that it is offering relief pay to workers exposed to COVID-19 at company-owned stores. The company also said it is waiving and deferring fees paid by franchise owners to help them preserve cash for the coming months.

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