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Lettuce Entertain You, Chicago’s Largest Restaurant Group, Could Lay Off 1,000

The company informed the state that cuts could come at 25 restaurants

Bub City
Bub City in River North could see 38 layoffs.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has informed state officials that it may lay off as many as 1,045 workers from 25 of its restaurants in Chicago and its suburbs. The news was made public last week by Illinois officials via its monthly WARN reports, a state summary of potential mass layoffs. COVID-19 was marked as the reason for the layoffs at each restaurant.

Lettuce, the city’s largest hospitality company, indicated potential layoffs at a variety of restaurants, like Petterino’s in the Loop and the RPM Seafood restaurants in River North off the Chicago River. Those two venues are the hardest hit as LEYE told the state that it could layoff 80 workers at each site. Venues from Bub City in suburban Rosemont, where 66 workers could suffer permanent layoffs, to Aba on Fulton Market, where 29 layoffs are listed on the state’s WARN report for the month of October, which was filed on Friday, November 6.

A LEYE rep says the company hasn’t permanently laid anyone off yet. According to the filing, the layoffs would go into effect on December 16. Companies are required by the state to notify the state of mass layoffs, i.e. layoffs of 75 or more full-time workers. LEYE filed its report on October 13, two weeks before indoor dining was suspended in Chicago.

R.J. Melman, LEYE’s president provided a statement to Eater Chicago, writing that the company placed many workers on temporary furlough in March after Gov. J.B. Pritzker first halted on-premise dining due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. “Nearly all of the impacted team members have been on furlough since March,” Melman said in the statement, noting there’s a hope they can be rehired in 2021. Melman adds, “no one expected these furloughs to continue as long as they have and while we are very optimistic for the future, in the short term, we do not expect a dramatic change in restrictions placed on our industry.”

LEYE is not alone. Earlier this year, Boka Restaurant Group informed the state of 500 potential layoffs. Lettuce runs more than 120 restaurants across the country. The breakdown of the potential layoffs reads as follows:

  1. Wildfire River North: 29
  2. RPM Seafood, RPM Events, Pizza Portofino: 80
  3. Wildfire River North 47
  4. Ramen-San, Dance Studio, and Il Porcellino: 26
  5. Big Bowl River North: 44
  6. Big Bowl Schaumburg: 40
  7. Bub City River North: 38
  8. Beatrix River North: 35
  9. Hub 51: 34
  10. Summer House Santa Monica, Stella Barra Pizzeria: 31
  11. Joe’s Prime Steak, Seafood and Stone Crab: 64
  12. Shaw’s Crab House River North: 69
  13. RPM Steak: 25
  14. L. Wood’s Tap & Pine Lodge Lincolnwood: 37
  15. Beatrix Fulton Market: 40
  16. Saranello’s: 31
  17. Osteria Via Stato: 25
  18. Petterino’s and Do-Rite Donuts: 80
  19. RPM Italian: 36
  20. Bub City, Joe’s Live Rosemont: 66
  21. Shaw’s Crab House and Tokio Asian Fusion Schaumburg: 27
  22. Aba and the Dalcy: 29
  23. Wildfire Schaumburg: 44
  24. Wildfire Lincolnshire: 33
  25. Wildfire Oakbrook: 35

Read Melman’s full statement below:

“When government restrictions related to the pandemic began to severely impact our industry in March, Lettuce Entertain You announced that we would place many of our valued employees on temporary furlough. Our decisions are always guided by our core philosophy of taking care of our people and this was one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make. No one expected these furloughs to continue as long as they have and while we are very optimistic for the future, in the short term, we do not expect a dramatic change in restrictions placed on our industry. Sadly, as a result, we will be laying off valuable team members across the country at the end of the year. Nearly all of the impacted team members have been on furlough since March. Our hope is to welcome back as many impacted employees as possible to the Lettuce team and we will be offering accelerated insurance coverage, enhanced vacation and employee discounts to eligible employees who return next year. We are grateful to all of our employees for all they have done and all that they do, especially in difficult times like these.”


219 North Green Street, , IL 60607 (773) 645-0085 Visit Website

Dance Studio

58 West Kinzie Street, , IL 60654 (312) 377-9944 Visit Website

Boka Restaurant Group

820 West Lake Street, , IL 60607 (312) 238-9896 Visit Website

RPM Italian

52 West Illinois Street, , IL 60654 (312) 222-1888 Visit Website

Stella Barra Pizzeria

1954 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (773) 634-4101 Visit Website

Big Bowl

60 East Ohio Street, , IL 60611 (312) 951-1888 Visit Website

Il Porcellino

59 West Hubbard Street, , IL 60654 (312) 595-0800 Visit Website

Osteria Via Stato

620 North State Street, , IL 60654 (312) 642-8450 Visit Website

Bub City

435 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 610-4200 Visit Website

Hub 51

51 West Hubbard Street, , IL 60654 (312) 828-0051 Visit Website


519 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 284-1377 Visit Website

Beatrix Fulton Market

834 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607


1011 South Congress Avenue, , TX 78704 (737) 273-0199 Visit Website

RPM Seafood

317 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 900-9035 Visit Website

Summer House Santa Monica

1954 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (773) 634-4100 Visit Website

RPM Steak

66 West Kinzie Street, , IL 60654 (312) 284-4990 Visit Website


8251 Flying Cloud Drive, , MN 55344 (952) 914-9100 Visit Website

Lettuce Entertain You

5419 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 878-7340