SAN ANTONIO — Shortly after celebrating its one year anniversary, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen is closing its doors in San Antonio.
Several employees stepping forward, speaking to KENS 5 claiming they were given no notice of the closure. Many said they have not been paid what they're owed.
"It left me in debt," Annette Badillo, a former line cook said. "I'm behind bills. My grandson starts school, I have custody of him, behind on his stuff."
KENS 5 reached out to the company and has not received a response. The Family Kitchen website no longer list its Texas locations in San Antonio and Fairview, in the Dallas area.
"It was months that they hadn't been paying the vendors," Badillo said. "So they already knew, within months, that we were not going to last in the store."
Jason Meza, regional director with the Better Business Bureau, said there is a protocol for business owners to take before closing to help make sure their customers, employees, or vendors are not left in the dark.
"Many times, simply stating that you're closing a business doesn't indicate that you're not off the hook for certain liabilities and creditors," Meza said. "In many cases like this, we see this where customers come to the Bureau, file complaints, and say, 'we're left with the bill, we have invoices' and we have to then go back to the business allow them some breathing room to say 'what's the situation here?'"
Michelle Jordan, a former employee at Family Kitchen, said she is heartbroken to see so many hard-working people suffer from the abrupt closure and blames the local franchise management for letting them down.
"When they closed the doors, just like that, it was very sad and heartbreaking for no one to get paid and what was due to them," Jordan said. "We worked so hard for somebody who really didn't care."
If you find yourself in a similar situation, Meza said to file an official complaint with the appropriate agency listed below. That will begin the process, but he said in some cases, there's no guarantee the complainant can recover all that is lost.