In addition to our normal media coverage, What Now Atlanta tracks how Atlanta businesses are adapting to the novel coronavirus and the challenges it poses to bricks and mortar.
Shake Shack’s CEO Randy Garutti and president Danny meyer in an open letter on Monday announced that the company would return a 10 million dollars forgivable loan he received from the US government as part of the Paycheque Protection Program (PPP) which was allocated to small businesses as a means of keeping employees on the payroll during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The letter comes on the heels of a growing backlash against the distribution of funds that appeared to favor larger chains like Shake Shack, and the $ 349 billion recovery plan, overseen by the Small business management (SBA), has dried up.
“Our employees would benefit from a $ 10 million PPP loan, but we are fortunate now to have access to capital that others do not have,” wrote Garutti and Meyer.
“Until every restaurant that needs it has had the same opportunity to receive help, we return ours. “
Shake Shack, having had to shut down dining halls across the country as demanded by many ‘stay at home’ orders in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, saw an ‘immediate drop in activity’ which ‘ has caused the company to face operating losses of over $ 1.5 million every week, simply by keeping our doors open in an effort to pay our people and feed our communities, ”according to the letter.
Head quarter Union Square Hotel Group closed all its New York restaurants on March 13 and without incoming income was “forced to lay off” more 2000 employees.
“If this health crisis and the associated economic shock have taught us anything, it is that we are all in the same boat”, according to the letter.
“Restaurants and their employees are thirsty for the moment when we can safely resume operations and bring our guests back to the table. With adequate funding and a few necessary adjustments, the P3 program can provide the economic spark that the entire industry needs to get back to business.
President Donald trump and his administration are working to provide additional funding for the PPP, saying at the Daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Sunday that a deal between House Democrats and Republicans was about to be struck. .
Shake Shack has four locations in Atlanta at Buckhead, Old Fourth Ward, Perimeter Mall and at the airport, with a location planned for Colony Square.
[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]