Danny Meyer is one of the most successful New York City restaurateurs and the Chief Executive Officer of the Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG). Meyer started the Shake Shack chain in 2004 and today runs 20 other restaurants. Meyer recently spoke to Scott Pelley with CBS News about the challenges being faced by the restaurant industry due to the coronavirus related layoffs:
Scott Pelley: How many people have you laid off?
Danny Meyer: We’ve laid off over 2,000 people by now.
Restaurant jobs are the most vulnerable in the crisis. Retail is second.
Danny Meyer: There’s about 660,000 restaurants in America. you can do the math on how many human beings are actively working, producing something of real value by bringing people together, and they’re out of work right now.
The math is 12 million jobs in restaurants, which Meyer explained is only the start.
Danny Meyer: Then you start to look at all the concentric circles, the people that do our flowers, the people that deliver the bread, the people who fish for our fish. We know from the farmers in the greenmarket that, if people are not gathering, and restaurants are not open, how do you know what to plant? You don’t go to the trouble of planting a crop only to have it go fallow.
In response to this USHG has created HUGS, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) fund to support USHG team members who are facing unexpected and exceptional financial needs.
USHG HUGS employee relief fund offers grants to help cover essential life needs. The Fund is governed by a Board of Directors, which ensures the program meets its objectives, embodies the spirit and values of USHG, and grants all contributions appropriately. All grants are reviewed by the Board of Directors, which is made up of impartial representatives from a cross-section of USHG’s businesses. They review funding requests and award support based upon established criteria.