SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s ‘no bueno’ at Taco Bueno for some employees at the certain locations for the tex-mex chain across the metro.
After hearing several stories concerning payroll problems at different locations for the popular tex-mex chain, KFOR investigated the issue to figure out why they’re not getting paid.
Understandably, the employees are upset they’re not getting paid, but they’re also concerned about going on camera and possibly losing their jobs.
KFOR spoke with one man who finally contacted the station because he couldn’t get any answers on his own.
Joshua Turnpaugh said after racking up weeks of work at the fast food restaurant, he is still waiting on pay day.
“The [could] only account for 9 hours,” he said, while adding he’d worked dozens more hours in that time period.
“I’ve almost lost my house, my car; it’s messed with my livelihood a lot,” he added.
He finally told a manager he wasn’t comfortable working without a check.
“I said, ‘Is there a way you can maybe cut me a check or something?,'” he said in an interview with KFOR.
“I was even willing to settle for half of what my hours were … anything [but] [the manager], she fired me over text messages,” he said.
Perplexed, Joshua turned to News 4 to get more answers.
“I tried to do what I could, but I felt like I was still kind of left in the dark,” he added.
“My grandmother…she said ‘call News 4… In Your Corner [and] they’ll help you,'” he continued.
Off camera, other restaurant managers with the chain admitted Taco Bueno’s payroll is mixed up due to a recent migration to another payroll system, but it’s chaos they blame on their parent company, Sun Holdings, Inc.
The second largest franchisee in the U.S. has not responded to the station’s requests for more information.
Currently, they own 143 Taco Buenos in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas, according to self-reported data.
They also operate the popular Popeyes franchise; KFOR also recently reported on their paycheck problems in Oklahoma City.
Back pay is big business all across the country in the food service industry.
The U.S. Department of Labor said more than 22,000 food service workers were owed over $27 million in 2022 for a number of reasons, in an industry known for low wages and high workforce violations.
Anyone concerned about back pay can contact the Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor to search a database of workers who may be able to submit a claim for money.
Joshua said he did his job and deserves every penny that he’s due.
“I really went out of my way for the company,” he said.
“I just want my pay, that it all…just what I worked for.”