Shake Shack Returning PPP Funding

(PresidentialWire.Com)- Shake Shack is returning money it received as part of the Paycheck Protection Program that was designed to help small businesses across America survive the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The publicly-traded hamburger chain received a $10 million loan as part of the program that was created by the $2 trillion economic stimulus package. But company executives say they were able to obtain funding elsewhere, and therefore, want to return the money that other small businesses need so badly.
The PPP quickly became an extraordinarily popular program. The federal government allotted $349 billion to the program, which is overseen by the Small Business Administration. It was intended to give small businesses loans that were convertible to grants as long as a majority of the funds were used for payroll.
After only two weeks of being available, though, the program ran out of money. There has been a lot of backlash about those who received funding, as it’s been revealed major restaurant chains, hoteliers and other publicy-traded companies were the beneficiaries, while many smaller local businesses were left out.
Shake Shack executives Danny Meyer (chairman) and Randy Garutti (CEO) said the company doesn’t need the PPP money anymore because they’re “fortunate to now have access to capital that others do not.” The plan is for them to sell shares to investors that will raise up to $75 million.
One has to wonder whether Shake Shack is making this move so they don’t look like one of the bad guys who took money that they didn’t really need. But either way, it’s a solid decision that pumps well-needed money back into the program.
Both Meyer and Garutti said the PPP “came with no user manual and it was extremely confusing,” which is one reason why smaller restaurants and businesses were left out of the program initially. Both called on the government to increase funding to the program, and to assign local banks to work with applicants so the process of applying and receiving a loan will be easier.
Republicans and Democrats have been negotiating for a week or so now on a new economic stimulus deal that would pump more money in the PPP and also support small businesses and health care facilities in other ways. Despite a back and forth between the two parties about what programs would need to be in this new bill — with Democrats apparently insisting on funding for local and state governments — President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he feels optimistic a deal could happen soon.
At a White House coronavirus task force briefing Sunday, Trump said:
“We are continuing to negotiate with the Democrats to get our great workers and small businesses all over the country taken care of. I think we are getting close to a deal. It could happen. It could happen. A lot of work has been going on, and we could have an answer tomorrow, and we are going to see what exactly does take place.”