The New York-based burger chain Shake Shack will return the entire $10 million loan from the federal government.
The news comes as widespread criticism rose over who got access to the funds that are supposed to help small businesses.
The company is among some of the hundred million dollar company that are reported to have received money from the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.
The loan program aims to help small businesses keep their workers on the payroll, but its $349 billion budget depleted after only less than two weeks.
Danny Meyer, Shake Shack’s founder and CEO of its parent company, Union Square Hospitality Group, and Randy Garutti, Shake Shack’s CEO clarified in a statement made on Sunday night that the company took the loan since the law states that it is open to any restaurant location with less than 500 employees.
They wrote, “The ‘PPP’ came with no user manual and it was extremely confusing.”
The loans provided by the program shall be forgiven if the recipients rehired laid off and furloughed employees by June, in which the company gambled that “the best chance of keeping our teams working, off the unemployment line and hiring back our furloughed and laid off employees, would be to apply now and hope things would be clarified in time.
The CEOs said that they had no idea that the fund would be depleted quickly, so they secured separate funding and decided to “immediately return the entire $10 million” so that restaurants that “need it most can get it now.”
Meyer and Garutti urged Congress to make sure that “all restaurants no matter their size have equal ability to get back on their feet and hire back their teams.”
“Our people would benefit from a $10 million PPP loan, but we’re fortunate to now have access to capital that others do not,” they continued, “Until every restaurant that needs it has had the same opportunity to receive assistance, we’re returning ours.