Burger King Employees Allegedly Walk Out During Shift: Police Called

Pittsburgh police responded to a Burger King on Sunday night after receiving a report that employees had allegedly walked out on the job and left the restaurant unattended and unlocked. The store in question already had a reputation in the area for once operating as a "fake" Burger King for a period of time when it was under different ownership.

The Pittsburgh City Paper reported that workers from the store claimed they didn't walk out, though, saying they had been short-staffed on the night in question, which resulted in the manager deciding to close early. Those working that night told the paper they had forgotten to lock up the store when they left.

burger king employee shortage
Pittsburgh police responded to a report of Burger King employees walking out on the job on Sunday. In this photo, a Burger King is seen on March 16, 2020, in Wantagh, New York. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Burger King is located at 1820 E. Carson St. in Pittsburgh's South Side. The store advertises itself as being open 24 hours a day for its drive-thru, and 6 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m. in the dining room.

Independent journalist Don Carpenter reported hearing a call to police on a scanner on the night of July 25, and Pittsburgh police were sent to the South Side eatery to investigate the report of an unattended and empty building. City Paper said police reported to the scene under the impression that the staff had walked out.

Entire Pittsburgh Southside burger king staff and manager all walked out tonight

Pittsburgh police trying to find a manager to come secure the building.

Till they do they have the parking lot blocked off

— Don Carpenter (@AnarchyWaltz) July 26, 2021

Pittsburgh Public Safety officials told City Paper they had no information regarding the employees walking off the job. They confirmed that the building was empty and unlocked on the night of July 25 and that police eventually made contact with someone who had a key. The person then reportedly came to the location and locked the restaurant.

Local NBC affiliate WPXI said passersby had contacted the station on Sunday night to say people had gone inside the Burger King and took food. WPXI said workers could not confirm those reports on Monday.

City Paper wrote that a reporter saw an employee telling a customer at 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning that the store was closed until more staff showed up for work.

The South Side Burger King is well-known in Pittsburgh due to its bizarre history of once being an imposter location of the fast-food chain. For a period of time, the store was operating as a fake Burger King after corporate revoked the location's franchise allegedly after receiving repeated food quality complaints.

The store kept its Burger King signs, uniforms and posters during this time. In early 2014, customers began reporting the food tasted different, and that it arrived in plain brown paper bags, while fries were served in unbranded paper cups. Sodas allegedly came in white polystyrene cups and sandwiches were wrapped in tin foil or paper.

A news team from WPXI was escorted off the premises when they attempted to do a story on the store in 2014, but were told by a manager that the restaurant was in the process of becoming an independent fast-food operation. Soon afterward, the city's health officials said the business was shut down.

The closing was short-lived though, another Burger King franchisee announced he had bought the location in February 2014, and it returned to being a legitimate Burger King.

The incident last weekend at the Pittsburgh store followed a walk-out that occurred at a Burger King in Lincoln, Nebraska, weeks earlier. On July 10, employees of that store quit, and when they did, they left a parting gift. On the large outdoor sign for the restaurant, they had placed the following message: "We all quit. Sorry for the inconvenience."

The sign and story of the Nebraska store went viral on social media, with many people cheering on the former employees.

Meanwhile, the sign outside the Pittsburgh store on Monday stated that it was "now hiring."

Newsweek contacted the owner of the South Side Burger King location, TOMS King, for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.