+
popular

Shake Shack has returned a $10M government loan that was meant to help small businesses

Shake Shack has returned a $10M government loan that was meant to help small businesses
via Robert S / Flickr

New York-based burger joint Shake Shack came under fire recently for gobbling up $10 million of the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program. The $349 billion program was designed to help small businesses pay their workers and keep operations going during the COVID-19 shutdown.

The program ran out of money after just two weeks, leaving many small businesses without any funding options and their workers without paychecks.

Shake Shack was able to get the loan because the program covers any company with fewer than 500 workers at a single location. Shake Shack has 8,000 people at its 189 locations.


"Few, if any restaurants in America employ more than 500 people per location," Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti wrote in a statement. "That meant that Shake Shack — with roughly 45 employees per restaurant — could and should apply to protect as many of our employees' jobs as possible."

Shake Shack currently has over $104 million in cash and liquid assets.

Ruth's Chris Steak House ($20 million), Potbelly Sandwich Shop ($10 million), and Fiesta Restaurant Group Inc ($10 million), the owners of Taco Cabana, have also been criticized for taking up large chunks of money intended for small businesses.

The public pressure caused Shake Shack to give back the $10 million dollar loan. In a statement posted to LinkedIn, Shake Shack noted that small businesses were shut out of the program and that was the fault of the government.

"Late last week, when it was announced that funding for the PPP had been exhausted, businesses across the country were understandably up in arms," Garutti wrote. "If this act were written for small businesses, how is it possible that so many independent restaurants whose employees needed just as much help were unable to receive funding?"

It then announced it had received alternative funding and will return the $10 million to the Small Business Administration.

"We're thankful for that and we've decided to immediately return the entire $10 million PPP loan we received last week to the SBA so that those restaurants who need it most can get it now," Garutti continued.

via Lukas Richarz / Flickr

Garutti ended the statement by suggesting some positive steps that Congress can take to help all restaurants across the country.

"We urge Congress to ensure that all restaurants no matter their size have equal ability to get back on their feet and hire back their teams," he wrote. "We are an industry of 660,000 restaurants with nearly 16 million employees."

The lockdown has put a lot of America's businesses in peril. So it's our job as consumers to try and support those businesses as best we can to help them get through the crisis. Americans should take note of which ones are being ethical during the pandemic and support them as best they can.

It may have been wrong for Shake Shack to take funding that could have helped countless businesses make it through the crisis, but at least they're owning up to their decision. Hopefully other businesses who've been criticized will follow suit.








All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less
This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

Because you're a girl.

This article originally appeared on 04.14.17


I was promoted a few weeks ago, which was great. I got a lot of nice notes from friends, family, customers, partners, and random strangers, which was exciting.

But it wasn't long until a note came in saying, “Everyone knows you got the position because you're a girl." In spite of having a great week at a great company with great people whom I love, that still stung, because it's not the first time I've heard it.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less