Restaurant owner’s threatening note to staff after kitchen exit dragged

A Milwaukee restaurant owner reportedly threatened to ‘hang’ his employees ‘from a large building’ after kitchen staff walked off the job.

A viral post on the Reddit “Antiwork” forum on Tuesday claimed that Bob Weiss, owner of Shaker’s Cigar Bar in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sent a raging email to employees after they left on April 22.

Reddit user u/Mutt_Bunch garnered over 25,000 votes on a photo in Weiss’ email. Before the post went viral, other users shared the same screenshot on different forums and also attributed it to Weiss.

The email read: “Dear Friday April 22 staff, After the Friday night getaways, we have lost a chef and a food program. I hope you are pleased with the way you have treated my business.”

Weiss claimed that after the walkout, Shaker’s remained “a shadow of what was one of the most important places in the Midwest, with a hard-earned reputation for extraordinary cuisine, beyond what your superficial minds will accept and which has been in existence for nearly four decades, certainly before any of you were alive.”

You shouldn’t be surprised if my Serbian or Cuban debt collectors don’t find you anytime/anywhere in the next year and hang you from a tall building.

Bob Weiss, owner of Shaker’s Cigar Bar in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

That lament turned into a threat as he continued, “Anyone who needs a lesson on how we handled this in Vietnam… have the guts to seek me out.”

He went on to blame the drop in sales on staff who resigned, calling them “recalcitrant, small-minded children”.

In conclusion, Weiss said, “You shouldn’t be surprised if my Serbian or Cuban debt collectors don’t find you anytime/anywhere in the next year and hang you from a tall building. You cost the company and you deserve to pay the price and you will.”

A Milwaukee restaurant owner reportedly threatened to ‘hang’ his employees ‘from a large building’ after kitchen staff walked off the job. Here, a view of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin skyline.
Raymond Boyd / Contributor/Michael Ochs Archives

The resignations of Shaker’s Cigar Bar staff were also mentioned in a Google review of the restaurant.

“A pretty awful property that caused quite a few issues, especially with customer service,” said a recent review. “The head chef is gone, for good reason. I’d be sad to see this place go, but happy as a bee to see the property get dumped and better property take its place.”

A response from the owner took on a similar tone to the email circulating on Reddit.

“Our 35+ years speaks volumes about the quality of the operation,” Weiss responded to the review. “Perhaps you should know the facts before you recite the rhetoric of internet pablum/cancel culture.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food service workers quit their jobs at a rate of 5.6% in April, nearly double the national average rate of 2.9%.

In a 2021 survey by Joblist, restaurant staff cited low wages as their main motivation for joining the “big quit.” The other most common reasons were their desire for a new career, a lack of benefits, difficult clients, long hours and rigid schedules, and potential exposure to COVID-19.

Reddit users were stunned by Weiss’ brazenly written threats to his employees.

“It’s a never-ending way of saying ‘I’m so bad at management my staff are gone and I’m unable to take any responsibility so I blame you and threaten your life’,” one reader commented.

Another wrote dryly: “Are you threatening your ex staff with extortion? It’s great to release information about this publicly, now if anything happens to any of them the police do it Numero Uno. “

Newsweek has contacted Shaker’s Cigar Bar for comment.