Community Outraged At Buca di Beppo Restaurant Manager's Firing?

Reports that community of Chandler, AZ is outraged at the firing of Buca Di Beppo manager Joe Busone have been popping up in our inbox. The Arizona Republic says that when he was let go, seven servers also walked out — in the middle of dinner.

Busone, 53, had been the manager at Buca Di Beppo at Ray and Priest roads for eight years, and he had built a reputation as someone generous to community groups and loved by his staff.

Greg Geryak, who owns an insurance agency in Ahwatukee, had organized an annual dinner for the Ahwatukee Kiwanis Club at the restaurant. Forty people showed up for the 6 o’clock reservation.

Shortly after, Geryak said, “Joe saw me, gave me a hug and walked out the door. Five minutes later, I heard he was fired. Then . . . the three guys that were going to take care of my party walked out.”

The group received their dinner, at a reduced rate, but Geryak said it wasn’t up to Buca standards. The salad was soggy, drinks were slow in arriving and Geryak had to get up to refill water glasses himself. Desserts were so slow that a number of the group had left by the time they arrived.

Geryak was so incensed at Busone’s firing that he wrote an e-mail to Planet Hollywood, which recently bought the Buca chain.

The paper also interviewed some of the employees who quit when their manager was fired. They compared him to a father, and said “He always took a special interest in everyone. It was not really working for a boss, it was working with him.”

We received an email from a 13-year-old boy who says that with his parents permission, he wrote to Planet Hollywood and asked that Joe be rehired and whoever fired him be fired instead.

The Republic says that the manager refuses to say why he was fired, Planet Hollywood will not return their phone calls, and the comments on the article are full of various conspiracy theories. It’s all very mysterious.

Workers walk out after Buca di Beppo manager fired [Arizona Republic]