Another high-profile corporation is giving back its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money.
The Ruth’s Chris steakhouse chain will return two loans totaling $20 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The news comes as a Change.org petition to demand Ruth’s Chris refund the money had more than 261,000 signatures on Thursday afternoon (April 23).
“This is a travesty, and a disgusting display of corporate greed during a time of disaster,” Change.org said. “Demand that Ruth’s Chris Steak House return the money that it, in effect, stole from actual small businesses across this great country.”
The Small Business Administration (SBA) $349 billion stimulus package ran out of funding last week. The House is set to approve a second round of funding after many small businesses expressed outrage that they were left out, while larger companies came away with the money.
Ruth’s Chris is the latest company to return the PPP funds. The Florida chain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shake Shack Inc., agreed this week to reimburse the SBA its $10 million PPP loan. The hamburger chain is valued at $1.7 billion and employs more than 7,000 workers, making it the biggest recipient of PPP funds, according to the news outlet.
Two dozen of the companies approved for PPP funding employed more than 500 people, according to the WSJ. About a third reported more than $100 million in annual revenue for their last fiscal year, the report said.
Sweetgreen has also said it will refund its $10 million PPP loan.
In an open letter, Sweetgreen co-founders Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman and Nathaniel Ru wrote the company “quickly made the decision to return the loan” after learning about the problems with the program. They said the privately held company’s revenue has been “dramatically affected” and they intended to use the loan for employee pay.
“If this crisis has taught us anything, it is that we are all in this together and we believe strongly that the restaurant community needs more support and resources to weather this storm,” they said.