Former employee speaks out about Carbondale Steak 'n Shake - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Former employee speaks out about Carbondale Steak 'n Shake

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CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- You'll need to find a new spot for your late night snack in Carbondale.  A longtime burger joint is closed, for now. 

A sign on the door of Steak 'n Shake located near the University Mall said they are closed.

News 3 spoke with a former employee of the store on the phone on Friday. The employee asked to remain anonymous. 

"One minute, we were told we were going to be open, and again, the next day it's all gone," the employee said. "Everybody knows that the store has been struggling for a long time."

Since the store closed, a sign was placed on the door saying the location is closed while they renovate the building and will reopen under new franchise ownership. 

"If they have plans to remodel it, it seems strange to me, seeing as how there was a lot of other equipment in there that we needed to be fixed for a long time, and they wouldn't spend the money on it," the employee said. 

Along Route 13 near Carterville there is a Steak 'n Shake sign promoting the benefits of being a franchise owner for the company. According to the company's website, more than 400 locations across the country are changing from corporate-owned to franchises. 

The Vice President of Steak 'n Shake Jim Valentino said the location on Main Street in Carbondale was owned by Steak 'n Shake Incorporated and now they are looking for a franchise owner. 

"We are remodeling the building with brand new lights, tile, equipment and even new landscaping on the outside for a new franchisee to purchase the store," Valentino said. 

The employee said he worked at the store for about a year, and even then the store was in bad shape. 

"We had a pretty bad reputation, but as far as we could tell that leaf was starting to turn," the employee said. "Some of our old customers were coming back and giving us another shot."

News 3 also checked the records at the Jackson County Health Department. 

Interim Administrator Bart Hagston said in an email the health department inspected the restaurant on Tuesday, and due to cleaning and sanitation issues and temperature violations, the food service was suspended. 

Hagston said a hearing with health officials was scheduled for the next day. Later that day, a representative from Steak 'n Shake said they were going to close the facility. 

The employee said employees were told they had 48 hours to transfer to another store or hand in their resignation. 

"We thought we were improving and moving in the right direction," the employee said. "I don't understand how they expected us to succeed when we had no one rooting for us."

According to the Steak 'n Shake company website, the nearest location to the closed site is now inside the SIU Student Center.

See the health department's records below. 

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