Former Employees of Le Crave Speak Out

After a post on Facebook about an eviction notice found on the door of Le Crave in Titusville last week, numerous former employees have emailed me, messaged me or commented on social media about the owners of Le Crave, which at one point had locations in Titusville, Rockledge and Waterford Lakes in East Orlando.

All three locations are now closed.

Reasons as to why all three locations have closed have not been offered by Le Crave on any of the social media pages or in emails sent by Talk of Titusville asking for comment on the closures.

Accounts from former employees gives a little insight about the environment they had to work in and the problems they had to deal with, from equipment breaking down frequently to possible sexual harassment of underage female employees

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Below is one account from a former employee:

“I worked for Le Crave at the Titusville location around the time they first opened. My employment was abruptly terminated by text message four hours before my shift was supposed to start.

There are a few steps to my employment at Le Crave so we will start from beginning to end as best as I remember it considering this was in early 2019. For starters, I was hired and immediately put into serving with no one to shadow. I’ve been in a situation similar at a different employer so I did the best I could. Your first two weeks were the worst of your life. You were trained by being yelled at by the owner’s wife. You had to mess up to learn but in order to learn you needed to get chewed out. 

We had a group chat on the app called Homebase where we could all communicate. A lot of times the owner and his wife cussed at us for something that happened during shift. 

One moment in particular that stood out to me was my coworker having an issue with the software glitching and the tickets didn’t print for the end of night closing. The owner could not fathom that the POS he programmed for the restaurant could glitch and it had to be the employee’s fault.

One of the cooks that did not stay very long after this incident stated that the owner had seen blueberries that were thrown away, the owner reached into the trash and grabbed said blueberries, and then told the cooks the blueberries were still good and to just hide them inside the fruit crepes where the customers wouldn’t see. 

They didn’t pass inspection since they first opened. The one I was present for didn’t even pass because of how the prep area was set up. I’m sure you know the link for the health department. You should look up VietRiver’s too because they were shut down due to no one going anymore when an article broke about the kitchen being a hazard in some way, shape, or form. 

I was picked to be a lead on night shift. I’m not sure what happened but a month later, employees are telling me that the owner, his wife, and the day time manager were telling the employees that I was no longer a lead. Nothing was ever said to me. There was never a raise involved for any manager. Just the title. 

There was a point in my employment where the girls that worked there gathered together to talk about how the owner was being “creepy” towards them but it got shut down by the scheduling manager and the day shift manager. The owner also had girls working that were close to 18 but not quite and they handled alcohol because the rest of the employees would be busy with their own tables considering Le Crave had just opened. 

We, the servers, were told by the owner’s wife that if the customer didn’t like the food, they still had to pay for it. I can’t remember how long that lasted but it was still a policy she put in place. Minors were also working more than four hours without breaks. One of which was a barista and I was called a liar on google reviews for this specific allegation I saw with my own eyes.

We had a few fancy occasions that Le Crave hosted. Including a dinner meeting for all of these people from NASA. The day time manager had to suggest a better route of action when it came to getting the food out at the right time so that his NASA work friends had a good meal. We got paid for our time but the restaurant was closed for this. Another occasion was a wedding. I thought we would do it the same way as the NASA group but I was screamed at because that’s not how he wanted to do it. The parents ate first for that meal. The children basically got their food last because of how it was rung in. I don’t believe this was on purpose. I just think it was terrible execution. Much like Le Crave as a business, it very much failed. 

One time the owner asked me to do a slideshow presentation with bullet points he wanted me to copy into the project and he wanted me to make it look good. He offered to pay me for my time as I did work on it while I was home. Had a deadline and everything. I never got paid for it. It never even got brought up again. 

There were countless times where the owner and the owner’s wife would not be there. I believe the incident with the girls gathering together led them to talk about if not go about divorce. Rumors of this from both shifts spread like wildfire and his wife started showing up less and less. Even though we never talked to her about it.”

According the the Florida Department, Le Crave did not properly train any employees as a Food Service Manager, which is required by State law. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation also said that Le Crave was “Operating with an expired Division of Hotels and Restaurants license”, and public record shows the license was ‘Delinquent’ starting April 2022.

Another long-time employee reached out via email, recounting their time as a manager at Le Crave in Titusville.

“I knew Tuan before he opened up LC with his wife. We worked at KSC together. When our contract ended out there I went to help them open and establish LC at Rockledge, Waterford (which has closed) and Titusville. I worked for them for almost 4 years before leaving because I asked to close for a day to clean when my main barista got covid positive. The wife told me she needed a manager who cared about the business and not crybaby employees (they didn’t believe in covid). So they refused and Tuan opened on a Friday morning with himself as front of house and 2 back of house employees.

Then started sending messages in our group messaging app that if we didn’t come in we’d be replaced when I already told all my employees to go get tested and we’d be closed for the day.

So I left January 2021 because I could never align with the wife’s dictator ways and Tuan would always cave to her. Tell us one thing and tell her another. And he could do that because she eventually stayed and ran Rockledge and I ran Titus. Waterford closed. And Tuan was focusing on his Lengineer engineering business he was also trying to start.

Everyone has a breaking point and I had finally reached mine. It took way too long but I was building a great team and when he wasn’t around we ran smoothly and the environment was great. That’s why 8 of our 12 employees left with me when I did

He’s always got 20+ balls in the air and can never finish not one of them to quality. Everything was rigged together or slapped together. Our kitchen equipment was always broken. Refrigerators broke constantly and could never stay to temp. Because he was an engineer and somewhat handy he would always “fix” things themselves that would never be fixed right and would break again.

He doesn’t even use a standard POS system for his restaurant business. He rigged software from some old program and put it together. It’s so glitchy, sometimes doesn’t work, isn’t maintained so there’s no customer support to help with issues, it was always on him and he was always too busy.

I’m not surprised they finally closed but I am super pissed to have learned yesterday that they received over 100,000 in loans, Tuan always told me they were always denied and he could never get assistance that’s why we couldn’t pay well and the business didn’t have money for things.”

According to the SBA.gov PPP loan data, the Rockledge and Titusville Le Crave locations received Federal PPP loans totaling more than $180,000. All of the loans were forgiven.

Another former employee posted on social media saying “That’s what this business gets…. I worked for them and didn’t receive all of my credit card tips that put in your paycheck and was never trained just thrown in to work right before mother’s day and the business owner is extremely unprofessional.”

Another employee commented on possible sexual harassment, saying in an email to Talk of Titusville, “I worked there for just over a year from 2019-2020, and it was easily the most toxic work environment I’ve ever been in, the owners were absolutely rude, the male owner was creepy and would make customers as well as the underage female employees extremely uncomfortable.”. Another employee wrote to me in an email saying, “I had an amazing 17yr old barista… She was the best and sweet and hardworking. Quit because he wanted to rub her shoulders and ask her about her private life”

One employee describes comments made to them, which are truly astonishing, saying “I worked for them at the Rockledge Le Crave grand opening. They were always prying about my genes and family history… They treated me special and would drive me around to do “marketing” and trained me to be a “mini manager” but with no raise. Eventually the wife made a comment about how they wanted a half white baby but not surrogate, she would want someone to create it with her husband… “with blue eyes like mine” I was 20 at the time. Everyone could show tattoos or have piercings except me, he wanted me to be classier and nitpicked me down to the earrings I chose. They were such icky, weird people. I ended up quitting after maybe 6 months. my boyfriend left reviews about what happened to me and they intimidated us into taking them down.”

“They’re horrible people. I think it’s important to know who you’re supporting when you “support local” and have this notion that they’re good business owners when in fact it’s all smoke and mirrors”, a former employee commented.

In a July 2021 survey done by PollFish.com, 44% of those survey takers said they’ve experienced personal harassment and bullying, discriminatory harassment and bias at work.

38% still experienced harassment remotely, through email, video conferencing, chat apps, or by phone. Additionally, 24% believe harassment continues or gets worse through remote work channels.

Talk of Titusville will always be free to access.
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53% say their workplace immediately addresses harassment. However, 12% see no action from their workplace, and 14.7% aren’t aware of any action taken. Additionally, only 54% of respondents have had their issues fully resolved.

34% have left a job because of unresolved harassment issues. 26% have remained at a workplace despite there being ongoing issues of harassment.

Only 50% have reported harassment. 18% said that even though they experienced or witnessed harassment, they did not report it. They didn’t report it for fear of retaliation, that nothing would be done about it, or that they wouldn’t be believed.

Note: This article was posted to share the experiences of employees that have stated publicly and privately with permission to share for this article, what they went through. This article is meant to only to bring to light what some employees go through and what sometimes goes unnoticed publicly.

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