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Customers wait for to-go orders outside Shake Shack in Miami Beach, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Shake Shack will return its entire $10 million Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government that it received as part of the coronavirus stimulus bill, the burger chain's leaders said in a LinkedIn post Sunday night.

Why it matters: The New York-based firm was among several restaurant chains to attract criticism for taking the loan, designed to protect small businesses from the fallout of lockdowns and other restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

What they're saying: "The "PPP" came with no user manual and it was extremely confusing," said Danny Meyer, Shake Shack's founder and CEO of its parent company, Union Square Hospitality Group, and Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti in the statement.

  • "Shake Shack was fortunate last Friday to be able to access the additional capital we needed to ensure our long term stability through an equity transaction in the public markets," they continued.
  • "We're thankful for that and we've decided to immediately return the entire $10 million PPP loan we received ... so that those restaurants who need it most can get it now."
"We now know that the first phase of the PPP was underfunded, and many who need it most, haven't gotten any assistance. ... Our people would benefit from a $10 million PPP loan but we’re fortunate to now have access to capital that others do not. Until every restaurant that needs it has had the same opportunity to receive assistance, we're returning ours."

What he's saying: When asked about big publicly traded firms being deemed eligible for PPP funds, President Trump noted at Sunday's briefing that "a lot of times they’re owned by franchisees, where they own one or two places, so a lot of that would depend on what the formula is."

Go deeper: Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer discusses the decision on Axios Pro Rata Podcast

Go deeper

18 mins ago - World

World leaders react to "new dawn in America" under Biden administration

President Biden reacts delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

World leaders have pledged to work with President Biden on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with many praising his move to begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The big picture: Several leaders noted the swift shift from former President Trump's "America First" policy to Biden's action to re-engage with the world and rebuild alliances.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.