Shake Shack is giving back the $10 million federal loan it received through the coronavirus stimulus package that was meant to help small businesses.
The burger joint is one of a dozen big businesses under fire for taking the loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was meant to help small businesses cope during the coronavirus crisis.
The program, which had $349 billion, ran out of money less than two weeks after it started, leaving many small businesses around the country at a loss.
Danny Meyer, Shake Shack’s founder, and CEO Randy Garutti said in a statement Sunday night, “We’re fortunate to now have access to capital that others do not. Until every restaurant that needs it has had the same opportunity to receive assistance, we’re returning ours.”
Shake Shack, which has 189 restaurants nationally with 8,000 employees, qualified for the package because each individual restaurant has less than 500 workers each – one of the guidelines of the CARES ACT bill.
“The ‘PPP’ came with no user manual, and it was extremely confusing,” the two said.
Garutti went on CNN and added: “That doesn’t seem right to us. As we watched this opportunity play out over the weeks, it was very clear that the program was underfunded and wasn’t set up for everyone to win.”