Shake Shack returns $10 million in federal loans intended for small businesses

On Friday, Shake Shack disclosed that it had secured a $10-million forgivable loan from the Payroll Protection Program, the federal government’s funding meant to protect small businesses during the pandemic. Predictably, an uproar ensued: The loans were intended for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, and Shake Shack employs several thousand people and reported more than $150 million in revenue last quarter. The chain had taken advantage of a carve-out allowing chain restaurants to count each location as a separate entity. The whole thing might’ve felt less scandalous if there were enough money to go around, but on Thursday the Small Business Administration announced the first round of appropriations had been tapped out. Many independent restaurants were left in limbo with no extra support. Days later, Shake Shack announced it would return the money, adding that it had raised $150 million elsewhere, Politico reports