Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor gave up his entire 2020 salary and bonus to help his workers amid the pandemic.
By early March, the coronavirus pandemic began wreaking havoc in the United States. Several businesses had to close down or at least limit work and this affected thousands of employers and subsequently their employees. During this time, Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor knew how much this phase would hurt his employees financially. So, he decided to protect both lives and livelihood of those working at his eatery. Taylor, who founded the popular restaurant chain, announced that he would be forgoing his remaining 2020 salary and bonus, and use it to pay his employees as they tackle the outbreak.
Thus, he donated over $800,000 from his own pocket to support his employees and even though the business had slowed down due to the lockdown, the company hasn't had to lay anyone off or subject them to a pay cut. "It’s how I was raised. I did what I felt was right," the 64-year-old recently told PEOPLE. "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." Additionally, Taylor, who has won everyone's heart with his kind and generous deed, also purchased latex gloves, eyewear, and masks for his workers in his nearly 600 restaurants.
The generous businessman also helped set up an emergency fund called Andy’s Outreach 18 years ago. He contributed $5 million for the fund which was specifically designed for his employees who needed help with things like mortgage payments, rent, utility bills, and funeral expenses. Speaking of it's origins, he explained, "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."
When Taylor noticed that funds were exhausting quickly as many workers were turning to the fund for help, he began donating millions of his own without any hesitation. "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," expressed the caring employer. "I relate it to my own personal family and I want to take care of my family, is how I look at it."
Taylor explains that his experiences are a huge part of the person he is today. He knows what it is like to struggle and thus he pushed every day to help others who need it. In the early 1990s when the Texas Roadhouse was in its early days of Taylor was a single parent trying his best to raise two daughters. To make ends meet he would often rely on his parents for financial support and sometimes he would also require help for housing. "When you’re down and out, that sticks in your head," said Taylor. "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."
Speaking about the response to his efforts, Taylor said that it has been great so far and that he's received hundreds of letters thanking him. Apparently, some of these letters made him shed a few tears as well. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company owner says that at the end of the day, he hopes that his generosity would be something that his workers learn and take with them. "I want them to transfer the love we’re showing them to other people," he shared.