Burger King Corporation U.S. (BKC US) ordered the immediate closure of all 29 restaurants in Costa Rica as of today, Oct. 5. The closures mean 434 employees will lose their jobs, the owner of the local franchise BK Costa Rica said in a news release.
BK Costa Rica attributed the decision to “a disagreement on how to run the business with BKC US, which also is a shareholder of local operations.”
The statement added that BK Costa Rica guarantees the payment of severances to all employees as established by Costa Rica law, “even though BKC US is refusing to provide any funds for these payments.”
The franchise owner said the company made every effort to avoid the move, but a conflict with the parent company made that impossible.
In a separate news release, Miami-based BKC US apologized to its Tico customers:
Costa Rica has always and will always be an important market for us, and we hope to reestablish our business in the country soon. We apologize to our loyal customers for any inconvenience this may cause, and look forward to serving them again soon. We thank the communities we serve for their understanding and continued support for the Burger King brand.
BK Costa Rica also thanked the Costa Rican government for mediating in the dispute, “especially the Trade Ministry for its negotiations with BKC US to try to avoid the closing of our operations.”
Rumors of the popular burger chain leaving the country began earlier this year following the closure of several restaurants and the accumulation of debts with the Social Security System. The company denied on several occasions it would close here, instead announcing the opening of new restaurants this year and the next.
BK Costa Rica opened its first restaurant in Costa Rica on Apr. 1, 1990, across the street from the La Hispanidad roundabout in San Pedro, east of the capital.