Staff were left devastated today after being told they had lost their jobs, following a day of speculation on social media.
Fifteen members of staff were called to The Art House restaurant in Bondgate Within, Alnwick, this afternoon to be told their employment had been terminated.
The news followed speculation on social media early this morning.
One member of the front-of-house staff said they had woken up to text messages from friends saying the business was closed.
The workers were called to the premises at 4pm today to be told by the front-of-house supervisor that the business had ceased trading.
Another member of staff, who did not wish to be named, said: “We were given envelopes explaining the situation and that we’d get the money we’re owed.
“The owners of the business didn’t come speak to us and we were told that they were too busy.
“I was all very shocked and I said: ‘I’m not being funny, I think out of courtesy you should have told us what was happening because I don’t think it’s right that we found out we’ve lost our jobs from Facebook.”
This evening, restaurant owner Jon Smith confirmed to the Gazette that ‘The Art House ceased trading today as a result of us forfeiting our lease.’
He said: “The building was sold in a very underhand manner to another local businessman and we do not feel comfortable as a business continuing to trade under these circumstances.
“It came as a very hard decision to walk away from the amount of hard work and dedication that everyone has put into the place and we would like to thank all of our loyal customers from over the years.
“All staff have been made redundant from the restaurant and we would like to thank them for all their hard work over the last few years.”