Employees of discontinued Foxtrot and Dom's chains sue for unpaid wages

A class-action suit contends the food shops’ staffs weren’t alerted of the closings at least 60 days in advance, as required under federal and state law.
A Foxtrot unit. | Photo courtesy of Foxtrot

An employee who was laid off when Outfox Hospitality abruptly shuttered its Foxtrot and Dom’s Kitchen & Market stores has filed a class-action lawsuit against the food shop operator on behalf of himself and other affected employees.

Foxtrot Market, an urban c-store concept that offered an extensive array of ready-to-eat foods, had 33 locations in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Austin, Texas. Dom’s, a small-format grocery chain, had two locations in Chicago.

Outfox Hospitality began closing all of the stores on Tuesday, less than six months after the Foxtrot and Dom’s brands merged, forming a new entity, Outfox Hospitality.

“We explored many avenues to continue the business but found no viable option despite good faith and exhaustive efforts,” Dom's shared in a statement to Dom's and Foxtrot customers on its website.

Representatives from Chicago-based Outfox did not respond torequests for comment.

The plaintiff, Jamil Ladell Moore, filed the suit against defendants Foxtrot Retail Inc., Outfox Hospitality LLC and Dom’s Market LLC. Moore and an estimated 1,000 other employees were not provided with notice of the closings 60 days in advance, as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and its state-level equivalent, the Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (IWARN) Act, according to court documents.

Employees at all Foxtrot and Dom’s locations were terminated immediately on Tuesday without any prior notice, the documents said, and several employees first learned of the mass layoff in the middle of their work shift that day.

None of the employees received pay or other compensation for the notice period, the documents said.

“This class-action suit seeks only damages and any other relief permitted under WARN and IWARN,” said the court documents. The plaintiff “reserves the right to expand, combine or subdivide the class definitions as warranted, as facts are learned in further investigation and discovery.”

The upscale Foxtrot chain, which featured delivery services, sold a wide variety of convenience products, including freshly crafted chef-prepared meals, premium groceries, wine, snacks and sweets, personal care products and gifts. It also served as a neighborhood destination for local producers. Foxtrot had raised hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to fuel its rapid expansion. 

Dom's Kitchen & Market provided guests a place to eat, drink, shop and connect to their communities. Its stores served as neighborhood hubs offering curated local products, chef-crafted meals and in-store dining. Additionally, Chicagoans could shop the stores and order meals online via Dom’s Go for quick pickup or delivery.

Outfox named former Whole Foods Executive Vice President Rob Twyman as CEO in February. Most recently, he was with nonprofit grocery chain Daily Table.

Twyman began as CEO on March 11, succeeding Liz Williams, who has been named CEO of restaurant chain El Pollo Loco. Jay Owen and Bob Mariano, both co-founders and co-chairmen of Dom’s, and Mike LaVitola, co-founder of Foxtrot, maintained their advisor and board roles at Outfox.

This story originally appeared in RB's sister media channels, CSP Daily News and Supermarket News.

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