Tilman Fertitta said to furlough 40,000 employees

The layoffs affect about 70% of the billionaire's workforce.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Landry’s principal and CEO Tilman Fertitta told the Bloomberg news service that he has furloughed 40,000 employees across his casino and restaurant holdings, or about 70% of his workforce, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Landry's is one of the nation's largest owners of restaurant concepts, with about 85 brands encompassing an estimated 600 outlets.

Fertitta's comments confirm reports that the billionaire has quietly closed a large number of its holdings because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He did not divulge how many establishments have been closed, but said that his holdings are running at 30% to 40% of their total capacity.

Restaurants that remain open are generating about 4% to 5% of their usual sales through takeout and delivery, Feritta said. He told Bloomberg that his empire is losing millions of dollars on a daily basis.

The billionaire said he intends to access another $200 million from his lenders.

A spokesperson did not respond to a request from Restaurant Business for confirmation and details.

Fertitta’s holdings include a controlling stake in Waitr, the third-party delivery service. Waitr announced earlier this week that it would offer jobs to workers who were furloughed from Landry’s, the seafood restaurant chain that was Fertitta’s first restaurant business. It remains one of the largest.

He is also the owner of Golden Nugget casinos and the Houston Rockets professional basketball team, whose season has been postponed along with the rest of the NBA.

Fertitta told Bloomberg that he has asked government officials to consider lifting stay-at-home orders in several weeks to lessen the pandemic’s impact on the U.S. economy.

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