Disgruntled Small Business: Shake Shack Gets Money But We Don’t?


With the federal paycheck protection program no more moneySome small business owners are upset that larger companies – how expensive Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Chain – received tens of millions of dollars in support.

Take Ruhel Islam, owner of Ghandi Mahal, a Bangladeshi and Indian restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He applied for a $ 349 billion six-digit loan through the Small Business Administration initiative and got nothing.

“I think larger restaurants had better systems to deal with it while we were just working hard to keep our doors open. They have people who do it for us while we had to do it ourselves, and I think that’s why they were ahead of us in applying for loans, “Islam told CBS MoneyWatch.

His 22-strong workforce now consists of seven employees, who now mainly focus on take-away orders. Islam was looking for a loan of around $ 100,000 – 2.5 times its average monthly pay slip – to pay the salaries of these workers.

Indian restaurant owner Ruhel Islam applied for a six-figure PPP loan, but received no funding.

Courtesy of Ruhel Islam

Bangladeshi Islam believes that his application was partially rejected because his restaurant was queued for paychecks relatively late. He applied for a loan on April 16, almost two weeks after many banks first accepted applications. The language barrier also reset him.

“I understand the spice language, and if you tell me to do something very spicy, I can do it. But to understand loans and things, we need a lawyer, an accountant, a banker. My banker is wonderful, but as I realized that option was available to us, it was too late, “he said.

Islam is also frustrated at spending time and resources submitting a non-paying application. “It took a lot of paperwork, and I had to involve my accountant and other people to send 11 attachments, and finally I found the money was gone.”

Other small business owners are angry that much larger companies have taken advantage of the paycheck protection program. Adriana Carrig, owner of Caldwell, Little Words Project, New Jersey, applied for a $ 140,000 loan from JPMorgan Chase on April 4, the date the application was first made available to her.

Adriana Carrig is outraged at how funds have been allocated to real small businesses.

Courtesy of Adriana Carrig

She expected the funds to keep her nine full-time employees busy. The corona virus has wiped out all of their wholesale jewelry orders, which normally make up 60% of their business. “I applied the second time the program opened and uploaded my documents when asked to do so,” said Carrig.

“It was angry to see places like Ruths Chris and Potbelly have received millions of dollars that should have gone to real small business owners,” she added.

Perhaps Shake Shack announced late Sunday that this was the case $ 10 million loan returned It was awarded as part of the paycheck program. For some entrepreneurs, however, this is too late.

“It feels very dirty and not what real small businesses are about, what helps each other and does not dig our hands if they are not part of it,” said Carrig of the larger restaurant chains that are in favor of the Have qualified loans. aimed at companies with fewer than 500 employees. “When they get money, it feels like a slap in the face.”

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According to the rules for paychecks, larger companies can apply for any restaurant that they operate, as long as there are fewer than 500 employees at each location and it is a separate legal entity.

Carrig did not fire any of her employees, but said she could not keep her business going without help: “I broke the loan application down to the last penny – everything would have been on the payroll to keep my employees up and running. Now I don’t know how we will survive if everyone works from home and is paid in full. ”

Colin McIntosh, founder of Denver, Colorado, the bedding company Sheets & Giggles, is also angry that he immediately applied for the loan program, but was empty.

“I’m frustrated with the time and work I’ve done to make sure we’re ready to go. I’ve even paid mine [chief financial officer] To help us with that, “he said.” Spending valuable time and money on the application and then getting nothing is really a blow to the stomach. “