The burger chain was awarded a $10 million loan as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.
But Shake Shack returned the money it received from the U.S. government saying that it was their way of helping small businesses pay workers and keep their operations running during the ongoing pandemic.
The $349 billion stimulus package, overseen by the Small Business Administration, began distributing funds last week, but there has been a growing backlash towards the distribution system. It was revealed that a large part of the money was given to chain restaurants, hoteliers and publicly traded corporations instead of small, local businesses.
In light of the wave of criticism, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti and chairman Danny Meyer penned an open letter saying that their company no longer needed the money because they are “fortunate to now have access to capital that others do not.”
— SHAKE SHACK (@shakeshack) April 20, 2020
Garutti and Meyer took it a step further by calling SBA to increase funding and to assign a local bank to work with each applicant to make the process easier and the forgiveness policy more flexible. This is in response to the program that many businesses are calling confusing and becoming frustrated with.
President Donald Trump is “continuing to negotiate with the Democrats” to take care of workers and small businesses.