Texas Roadhouse CEO Gives up Salary and Bonus to Pay Employees Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Co-founder and CEO of Texas Roadhouse W. Kent Taylor is giving up his salary and his bonus to continue paying restaurant employees through the coronavirus pandemic. This week, MarketWatch reported that Taylor was going without pay to help his employees through this desperate time. On Thursday, Texas Roadhouse Inc. confirmed the news in a statement published by The Hill.

"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. "We are blessed to have his leadership."

Taylor is reportedly re-directing his own base salary between March 18 and Jan. 7, 2021 to go to the workers in his restaurants. He will do the same with the bonus he would normally have taken during this time. The salary comes to just under $525,000, while the bonus is about $525,000 on its own.

"On a prorated basis, the forgone salary and bonus would be just under a $1 million donation to employees," the spokesperson noted.

This move comes after Taylor donated another $5 million to a charitable fund called Andy's Outreach, which is used to support Texas Roadhouse employees during "time's of need." It was named after the franchise's mascot, Andy Armadillo.

All of these desperate measures were taken in the hopes of mitigating the economic damage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment claims have reached a historic high with so many businesses around the country closed down. Texas Roadhouse, however, is not among them.

Texas Roadhouse restaurants have halted inside dining at all of its locations in the U.S. — more than 500 in total. However, it is still open for business, hoping to attract customers with takeout and delivery options, including some that involve no close contact between delivery drivers and customers.

"We're still open for business," the spokesperson said.

Texas Roadhouse is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. It has locations in 49 U.S. states.

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This is just one of the hopeful stories to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so much bad news about the coronavirus circulating, people on social media celebrated Taylor's generosity. Others called on more CEOs and business leaders to do the same as Taylor for the good of the economy.

For the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the CDC's website.