As concerns around coronavirus continue to be an issue, a number of businesses have been forced to close down to help slow the spread. But what happens to the employees of these businesses has varied greatly, and two high-profile businesses opposing approaches to the dilemma has many people sounding off on social media.
Last Wednesday, craft store Hobby Lobby had reversed course on closing its stores. After owner David Green initially sent out an email to employees informing them that his wife, Barbara, had received a "vision from god" and would remain open, they decided to close. They proceeded to start laying off staff across the country, amounting to hundreds, or possibly thousands of unemployed workers. Including 32 in the company's art and creative department.
On Thursday, restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse announced that co-founder and CEO W. Kent Taylor would be foregoing his annual salary, as well as any incentive bonuses, to help his employees who are affected by coronavirus. "Kent Taylor has always said that Texas Roadhouse is a People-company that just happens to serve great steaks. His donation of his salary and bonus to help employees is the embodiment of that saying," a company spokesperson said, adding that they "are blessed to have his leadership."
Given the stark differences between the two scenarios, more than a few people took to Twitter to weigh in with their thoughts.
Now here’s a real standup guy. Texas Roadhouse CEO W. Kent Taylor is giving up his base pay & bonus to make sure his workers keep getting paid. Too bad the Hobby Lobby CEO/Founder doesn’t do the same.— Clyde B 🇺🇸 🗽 ⚓️ (@jbcb189) March 26, 2020
What this pandemic has really done is show me what businesses to support after this is long over. You will never see me in a Hobby Lobby again, but I am definitely going to be going to Texas Roadhouse.— Ashley (@ashimilie) March 26, 2020
On March 19, Green initially sent a message to employees, which read that the "country has experienced several calamities and disruptions over the past century. From world wars and terrorist attacks to financial crises and pandemics. While the current COVID-19 virus has been added to that list and is certainly concerning and disruptive, I have every confidence that we, as a country and a company, will sustain and thrive again soon."
@HobbyLobby did you read the article about how the CEO of Texas Roadhouse is foregoing his salary to make sure his employees are paid in these troubling times....that's GODS hands...just so you know. But you enjoy your millions during quarantine and after....sad— Danielle (@btnt2night) March 30, 2020
Due to Hobby Lobby's unchristian like decisions regarding their employees, only Michael's and JoAnn's will have my craft business in the future.— A Lisciandrello (@ldrello481) March 29, 2020
I will go out of my way to shop at Home Depot and eat at Texas Roadhouse too.
How these businesses treat their employees matters!!!!
"In her quiet prayer time this past week, the Lord put on Barbara's heart three profound words to remind us that He's in control," Green's letter continued. "Guide, Guard and Groom. We serve a God who will Guide us through this storm, who will Guard us as we travel to places never seen before, and who, as a result of this experience, will Groom us to be better than we could have ever thought possible before now."
Also, I hope the Hobby Lobby CEO can learn a thing or two from THE Texas Roadhouse CEO.— Mac (@mac_mac_aroni) March 27, 2020
I wonder if Kent Taylor (Texas Roadhouse CEO) needed God to tell him to give up his salary for the good of his company's employees. What do you think, @HobbyLobby ?— Sensitive Aubrey (@cool_and_gay) March 26, 2020
On Thursday, Hobby Lobby Arts and Creative Vice President Darsee Lettin wrote in the letter to terminated employees that "It is with a tremendously broken heart that I’ve been forced to take these unimaginable actions, and I genuinely hope you know that my prayers are with you and your family."
Thank you Texas Roadhouse CEO for giving up salary and bonus for a year to help pay restaurant workers. That’s a leader and humanitarian! Other companies (the devout Hobby Lobby comes to mind) take notice!— Sarah (@beyondbrighton) March 26, 2020
Why don’t you google Texas Roadhouse CEO and see the right way to treat employees during this mess. Everybody is NOT treating their employees the way Hobby Lobby is.— Louisexual #FineLine #Walls 🍉🍭 (@PussyFranx) March 29, 2020
Taylor, on the other hand, will be re-directing his own base salary between March 18 and Jan. 7, 2021 to go to the restaurants' employees. The same will be done with his annual bonus, which comes to just under $525,000, roughly the same as his salary.
BREAKING: Texas Roadhouse CEO will forgo his base salary and bonus from March 18 through Jan 7, 2021 to pay front line employees of the chain.
Damn, I'm LOVING seeing the American Spirit come out in some people! This is Amazing! Well Done!— Matt Couch 🎙 (@RealMattCouch) March 26, 2020
Taylor's recent act comes after This move comes after he'd donated $5 million to a charitable fund called Andy's Outreach, which is used to support Texas Roadhouse employees during "times of need," which is named after the chain's mascot, Andy Armadillo.
I told my wife that Hobby Lobby is not being patronized by us. When this is over, we are heading to Texas Roadhouse for a real celebration. https://t.co/UdyRMjG17w— Dennis M. Francis (@tdpubs) March 27, 2020
Had to share this:
W. Kent Taylor is the co-founder and CEO of Texas Roadhouse Inc.
He’s giving up his sizable bonus and six figure base salary this year to pay his chain's workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Humanity.— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) March 26, 2020
It's unclear when either business will be opening its doors. Currently, 27 states have some type of Stay at Home order in effect, and President Donald Trump just extended social distancing guidelines through the end of April, though that could change.