Danny Meyer, Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Chairman of Shake Shack spoke with SiriusXM Business Radio host Alan Fleischmann of "Leadership Matters" to discuss the latest news on his company choosing to return it’s $10 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to the U.S. Government. He also offered suggestions to improve the program.
"I'll go to my grave saying that that Shake Shack, Randy Garutti, the CEO and the team made the right choice to apply for the PPP funding in order to keep as many people employed for as long as possible in the face of declining sales and operating losses every day, that every day since the virus began, Shake Shack has endured operating losses," he said. "But I also think that while they did the right thing to apply for the plan, once Shake Shack learned that so many had been shut out for a whole host of reasons, lack of funding, lack of proper contacts with banks, loan officers, then it puts Shake Shack in a position to do the other right thing, which was to return the funding so that those who didn't have that kind of access could get it. I feel really proud for the decision, but I'll say it was a struggle because when you know you didn't do something wrong in the first place, you got to kind of put that to the side and say, 'that's fine, but what's the right thing to do now?'"
They discussed the letter Meyer and Garutti posted on LinkedIn that included a number of recommendations on how the government should manage the PPP program moving forward.
"I was heartened to see that Secretary of the Treasury, Mnuchin, tweeted the article and saying how happy he was to see that Shake Shack had returned the money," said Meyer. "So we know that this message reached, I guess as high as you can get in terms of planning this thing."
Watch the clip for his suggestions. The full interview aired Monday, April 20 on SiriusXM Business Radio channel 132, and is available On Demand.