KITCHENER -- Almost 200 employees are out of work and in the dark after four Boston Pizza locations in Waterloo Region and Stratford shut down.

A spokesperson for the man who owned all four franchises says no one wanted it to come to this.

Between the four restaurants, about 180 people lost their jobs. They say they're frustrated and have been left without answers or pay.

Scott Lu was a line cook at one of the Boston Pizza locations. He says he found out the hard way.

"There was this dramatic email from our manager at like, five in the morning that was saying, due to unfortunate circumstances, we are going to have to shut down," he recalls.

The email was sent to staff at all four locations: three in the region and one in Stratford. The restaurants shut down the same day.

Some former employees say they that, not only were they not given notice, but they're also out their last paycheque.

"We trusted these people, we worked with them for a long time and they just let us down," says Tori Killian-Price.

She and her partner, Zachary Smith, both worked at the Erb Street location.

They say it was a fun and pleasant work experience, but now that it's over, they want to get paid.

"I went to work on time, I did all my job. It just feels like they just took the money that was made off our backs and ran with it," Smith says. He worked at the company for four years.

Brian Haase owned all four locations.

His debt consultant, Alex Hunsen, spoke on Haase's behalf, saying he is devastated for the employees.

He says it wasn't the owner's choice to close so suddenly.

"To our shock, the very next day, the entire payroll bank account was frozen," Hunsen says.

"The closing of the locations was triggered by the freezing of the bank accounts."

The consulting firm assures employees that they are dealing with the matter as quickly as possible.

A spokesperson for Boston Pizza says that it's up to the owner of the franchises to pay employees what they owe.

"Under Canadian franchise law, however, until the franchisee’s plan is finalized he and his directors remain the legal owners of the restaurants and they have a legal obligation to pay wages to its employees, and the law provides remedies to employees if they don’t," says Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Communications Peter Blackwell in an emailed statement.

"Boston Pizza International is therefore, simply not legally permitted to take control of or operate these restaurants in any way. We do  understand how frustrating this reality is for affected restaurant staff."

He says that they're working quickly to find new owners for the franchise locations that have closed.

In the meantime, he says that the Boston Pizza location at Bingemans and the two in Cambridge are still open for business.