The Reason Behind Recent Modern Times DTLA and PDX Layoffs
(Los Angeles, CA & Portland, OR) – Modern Times Beer is one of the fastest growing independent craft beer companies in recent history. Within the last six months, Modern Times added to their west coast footprint with the opening of the Downtown Los Angeles Dankness Dojo and the Belmont Fermentorium in Portland, Oregon. Both locations opened with a small batch brewhouse, a restaurant and full service coffee bar. Since their openings, the places have been well received, with the Downtown Los Angeles location being often packed during weekend drinking hours, sometimes even with a line going down the block.
We just received word that the Dankness Dojo laid off 16 restaurant employees and Portland just let go of two employees. We reached out to Modern Times Beer to get word on the unfortunate separations. Here is what Dan Reed from the Communications Department had to say:
“Regrettably, we did have to say goodbye this week to a number of people on our DTLA staff, as well as two members of our PDX front of house team. There are a couple of key reasons behind this, which I’ll elaborate on. However, given the current climate of the industry, I feel that it’s important to lead with the fact that this is not in any way a reflection on the overall health of our business, or any of our other current or future tasting rooms, breweries, or restaurants. It’s also important to state that both DTLA and PDX are meeting (and outperforming) our initial projections. The current staffing situation, simply put, was the result of our own inexperience in the restaurant industry, as well as the massive volume of our initial traffic. The fact that we’ve had to let people go as a result of this inexperience is deeply regrettable, and is something we both take full ownership of and which will inform all future staffing decisions.
The Dankness Dojo was our first foray into the restaurant world, which comes with an inevitable learning curve. Before we’d even done any soft-opening events, it became clear that the traffic at this location was going to be extremely significant, and we staffed to meet those needs. Once the initial rush cooled down a bit, we ended up being overstaffed. After a few months, it became clear that our actual traffic, while still more than we’d hoped for, was not going to climb back to the extremely high watermark of our opening months. Combined with lower-than-expected employee turnover, this led to us having to adjust both our staffing and our hours in order to reflect a more realistic picture.
In the current era of red flags in the beer industry, we feel obliged to note that we are currently up more than 60% over last year, and that all of our tasting rooms and restaurants are doing more business than we’d hoped; we just overshot exactly how much more based on our initial volume, which resulted in the current situation. All future projects are moving forward as planned, and we’re actually breaking ground in Encinitas as we speak.
While this year has been–and continues to be–more than we’d hoped for, it doesn’t mitigate the fact that mistakes were made, or the regret we feel at having to let people go as a result of those mistakes. What we can do going forward is make sure we learn from these situations, and use them to inform the staffing decisions we make in the future. ”
This article was updated at 10:38 AM on July 25th to change the layoff of DTLA employees from around ten to the accurate number of 16.