Marin Pizza’s stark white block letters stand out against the surrounding rooftops in the Town Center mall. With a location at the end of a main entrance, the restaurant’s grand opening in the summer of 2018 showed promise, yet it recently closed in Aug. 2019 after about a year of business. Although the company was bustling with customers at the inception, dwindling popularity and unorganized management led to its ultimate closure. The Bark reporter was unable to contact upper management.
Junior Keadan Bradley, a former Marin Pizza employee, noticed indications that the business was failing when the main managers stopped showing up for certain shifts and started creating dubious health issues to obtain Workers’ Compensation.
“This manager said that he hurt his back on the job, which he never did. He also used to take alcohol from the fridge,” Bradley said. “He was fired and then the one who was working before was hired back.”
Redwood graduate “James,” a former employee whose name has been changed for the purposes of remaining anonymous, also experienced mismanagement.
“They sat upstairs and didn’t really manage anything,” James said. “We would close early all the time and people would come banging on the doors because it said we were open later.”
Natalia Pelico, former Assistant Manager at Marin Pizza, began working around March of 2019. Although she and the general manager took turns covering shifts, she felt as though they were not as hands-on with workers as they could have been.
“I didn’t even get trained. I learned everything by myself and the people who worked there even saw that. I tried to do my best,” Pelico said.
Aside from mismanagement and lack of training, Pelico believes one of the main reasons the business closed was due to hiring predominantly teenagers to work at the front of the store; most of the more experienced adults worked in the kitchen. She vocalized to the owner how change was necessary, but it never occurred.
Although there is no definite reason explaining the slow foot traffic, once business slowed down, standards began dropping.
“It started getting concerning when all of a sudden we were missing cheese, flour and drinks,” Pelico said. “Then I realized we stopped ordering from the man that we used to order everything from. [The owners] were now going to Smart and Final to buy [the food].”
According to Pelico, the owner would go to the store daily and buy just enough to make meals for that day. This went on for weeks.
“Business was slow and people seemed to not like our food…As it declined, the food definitely got cheaper,” James said.
Aside from declining food quality, paychecks also became an issue. According to Pelico and Bradley, paychecks due within the last month `before closing were extremely late, but Pelico and James both received full paychecks by the end. Bradley did not.
“We weren’t getting paid for our work but all of us kept showing up because we were being told that [the paychecks] would come,” Bradley said.
Until a new store takes the place of Marin Pizza, the lot sits empty at Town Center.