CEO Gives Up Salary And Donates $5 Million To Support Employees Through Pandemic
Kent Taylor, who is also the founder of Texas Roadhouse, based in Louisville, Kentucky, has sacrificed his annual income and bonus, totalling more than $800,000 (£646,392).
The $5 million on top of this was pledged to a fund called 'Andy's Outreach', which he set up 18 years ago to help employees to cover costs for things like rent, mortgage payments and funeral expenses.
His donations have enabled him to keep all staff on with full pay across his 600 restaurants, despite the business taking a huge hit because of lockdown measures.
Explaining why he made the significant financial sacrifice, 64-year-old Kent told People: "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."
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Expanding on why he set up the support fund for staff almost 20 years ago, he said: "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.
"It would transition to where people gave part of their paycheck, whether 10 cents of $10, to help our people during times of need."
Clearly though, the past few months have been a time of need and Kent noticed the pot was getting empty, which is why he decided to top it back up.
He said: "I'm 64 years old and I call people under 55 kids. So I have 70,000 kids, and you want to take care of them.
"I relate it to my own personal family and I want to take care of my family, is how I look at it."
Kent remembers what it's like to struggle, as he did in the early 90s when the business was just getting off the ground and he was a single parent, relying on his parents for financial support and housing. As such, it has touched him to feel the gratitude of his employees, hundreds of whom have sent him thank you letters.
He said: "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.
"I want them to transfer the love we're showing them to other people."
Featured Image Credit: Texas Roadhouse