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Texas Roadhouse CEO gives up salary & bonus to protect front line workers (& itself)

Kent Taylor Texas Roadhouse CEO
Pictured, Kent Taylor Texas Roadhouse CEO.
Kent Taylor Texas Roadhouse CEO
Pictured, Kent Taylor Texas Roadhouse CEO.

Kent Taylor Texas Roadhouse CEO lauded hero after giving up salary and bonus to instead give to front line workers during coronavirus. The new realities of fast food industry. 

Texas Roadhouse CEO and founder Kent Taylor will give up his pay for the rest of the year so that the money can go to ‘front-line workers’ amid an industry crunch due to restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, according to reports.

To help struggling employees amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the steakhouse chain executive will forego his pay from March 18, 2020, to Jan. 7, 2021, MarketWatch reports. The company will also suspend its dividend during the crisis.

A statement via the hill, detailed Steakhouse CEO’s donation from Taylor’s base salary amounting to just under $525,000 along with his bonus of $525,000 as well. ‘On a prorated basis, the forgone salary and bonus would be just under a $1 million donation to employees,’ the statement noted.

Needless to say, Taylor has been lauded a hero on social media with calls for other CEO’s and executives to follow suit. But will they and can they continue to flourish at worker expense?

Restaurants and explosive CEO pay play necessarily role in trickle economy: 

Taylor’s ‘sacrifice’ follows the chain taking part in ‘The Great American Takeout’ campaign on Tuesday as restaurants around the US have been limited to serving to-go meals only in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

‘We are open for business and still serving America even though many of our dining rooms are temporarily closed,’ Taylor said in statement on the company’s website. ‘As the President and other officials have stated, restaurants play a vital role in our nation’s food supply, and we are going to help fill the gap where and how we can.’

A coalition of restaurants set up takeout campaigns to boost business during a stressful time for roughly 15 million industry workers, KRCR reported.

‘Local communities across America will be stronger on the other side of this crisis,’ Taylor reiterated.

Executive pay vs fast food worker pay
Executive pay vs fast food worker pay. Graph via Economic Policy Institute.

The realities of the fast food industry:

Texas Roadhouse has more than 500 restaurants across the United States, according to USA Today. While no longer offering in house dining during the coronavirus pandemic the chain continues to offer to-go and curbside delivery options at their locations for customers.

And then there was this recent nytimes report too shedding light on the new challenges of restaurant owners: ‘Since 2010, fast-food jobs have grown nearly twice as fast as employment over all, contributing to the economic recovery. But rapid growth has created new problems. Some say restaurants have grown faster than demand, causing a glut of competition that is another source of pressure on business owners.’

Continues the report: ‘….after years of benefiting from low-cost labor, many employers are starting to pay more. Fast-food wages began rising in 2014, and have increased faster than overall wages since. But at $10.93 an hour, the pay is still less than half the average for an hourly employee, pushing companies to offer more incentives — like dental insurance, sign-up bonuses and even travel reimbursement — to entice workers.’

Unclear is what plans and directives other restaurant chains and businesses in the direct firing line of the coronavirus epidemic will choose to elect, if any, to preserve the wellbeing of workers who have over the years been exploited have not shared in the dizzy rise in executive stock options and required to work at minimum wages whilst firm profits continued to grow. Issues and dilemmas that Texas Roadhouse’s Kent Miller is presumably highly aware of….