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Petition Demanding Ruth’s Chris Give Back PPP Loan Has Over 200,000 Signatures

Plus, Chipotle is being fined for tainted food, and more news to start your day

A tight shot of the rusted industrial facade and white and red Ruth’s Chris Steak House logo on the outside of a Ruth’s Chris restaurant.
Shutterstock/Jonathan Weiss

A petition demands the chain return money meant for “true small businesses”

Originally, the $350 billion set aside by the Small Business Administration for its Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to go to small businesses, like it says on the tin. But due to some loopholes, such as one that allowed chains to count individual locations with fewer than 500 employees separately, major chains were able to receive a substantial amount of the funds. Earlier this week, after facing backlash, Shake Shack (a publicly traded company with 189 locations in the U.S.) returned the $10 million it received from the SBA. Now hundreds of thousands are calling on Ruth’s Chris Steak House to do the same.

Ruth’s Chris received $20 million in PPP loans after applying through two subsidiaries, a move that a Change.org petition calls “a travesty, and a disgusting display of corporate greed during a time of disaster.” As of publishing, the petition — which calls for Ruth’s Chris Steak House to return the money — has over 200,000 signatures. A separate petition calling for the same thing has nearly 8,000 signatures.

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there would be consequences for big businesses who took advantage of the program. “We’re going to put up very clear guidance so that people understand what the certification is, what it means if you are a big company,” he said. But it appears none of these large companies broke the rules — they followed the guidance about individual locations that was specifically written into the program. This was always what was going to happen; it’s almost like the Paycheck Protection Program was designed that way...

And in other news...

  • The Washington Post interviewed the people behind the Steak-umm Twitter account. [Washington Post]
  • Chipotle is seeing a massive increase in digital sales...[NRN]
  • ...which is good for the company because Chipotle is being fined $25 million for tainted food. [NYTimes]
  • Apparently Stanley Tucci fucked up making a negroni. [Lifehacker]
  • New Yorkers really refuse to make coffee at home [NYTimes]
  • Tyson will reopen an Iowa pork plant that was closed due to a coronavirus outbreak. [Fooddive]
  • We saw this so now you have to see it:

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