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Texas Roadhouse CEO gives up salary, donates $5 million to employees: 'This is my family'

CEO Kent Taylor just wants his employees to say safe and healthy. So he did everything he could to make sure they were financially secure.

Texas Roadhouse CEO gives up salary, donates $5 million to employees: 'This is my family'
Image Source: texasroadhouse / Facebook

In light of the ongoing public health crisis and the ensuing lockdowns across the United States, many workers employed in the food and beverage industry were laid off. Instead of devastating thousands of employees, the CEO of the food chain Texas Roadhouse decided to give up his own salary.

Kent Taylor believed it was the least he could do to show his commitment to the belief that his restaurant is a people-first initiative, New York Daily News reports. He also donated a whopping $5 million to his employees in order to support them through a pandemic that has hit hourly-minimum wage employees hardest.



As per a report published by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, CEO Taylor will forgo both his base salary and incentive bonus from the period between March 18, 2020, and January 7, 2021. The additional funds will be used to "assist front-line hourly restaurant employees." Further to this, the chain plans to halt the payment of quarterly cash dividends so as to "better manage its cash position and enhance financial flexibility in light of the uncertainty in the global markets." 



In a statement posted to the Texas Roadhouse website, Taylor discussed his decision to take a (rather hefty) pay cut. "As I approach the ripe old age of 65, I have found what matters to me most is the health and well-being of my family, which includes my parents, kids, and grandchildren," he wrote. "But, I am also blessed with an extended family of over 75,000 Roadies and their health and safety is also a personal priority to me."

The CEO listed out the various ways in which the company made the executive decision to extend a helping hand to its employees. Among other initiatives, Texas Roadhouse provided a stimulus package to front-line employees in March, which allowed for early vacation use and paid health insurance premiums for all employees.  In April, the company paid an additional stimulus to those working hard to "Feed America."



For Taylor, this was not simply a marketing ploy—it was simply doing what was right. He said in an interview with PEOPLE Magazine, "It’s how I was raised. I did what I felt was right. This is that kind of time where you have to persist and think differently and take care of those that are with you and lift everyone’s spirits and march forward."

So when he donated $5 million to Andy’s Outreach, an initiative he launched for his employees 18 years ago to provide help with things like rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, and funeral expenses, it was out of his own goodwill. "We were doing that to take care of our people that might have a loved one die that needed money for a funeral or an operation," he shared of its inception. "It would transition to where people gave part of their paycheck, whether 10 cents of $10, to help our people during times of need."



Part of his goodwill comes from his own experiences of financial adversity. Taylor stated, "When you’re down and out, that sticks in your head. A lot of people think when you make it later in life it leaves, but it stays in your brain. Later in life, you want to give back in the same way."

At present, Texas Roadhouse offers curbside pick up and to-go services rather than traditional dine-in services. Select locations are reopening their branches for folks to dine-in. The CEO just wants his family of 70,000 to stay safe and healthy. Additionally, he hopes they pay this kindness forward. He hoped, "I want them to transfer the love we’re showing them to other people."



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