Steakhouse chain gets $20M loan, while local small businesses impatiently wait
LOS ANGELES - If you're a serious steak eater and don't mind spending some serious money, then you know doubt have heard of or maybe even eaten at Ruth's Chris Steak House.
There are more than 150 of them, and the parent company employs some 5000 people.
Ruth's Chris was also one of the first publicly traded companies to have received a federal SBA loan under what's called the "Paycheck Protection Program," designed to do just what it says, give companies money to keep paying employees.
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If 75 % of the loan is used for payroll, the loan is ''forgiven.''
As one can imagine, the demand is overwhelming. You have to go through your bank, which is backlogged, and you have to provide a lot of documentation, so patience is the key, as we've seen with all of the newly announced ''aid programs'' at local, county, state, and federal levels.
Aaron Celnik was happy to hear that a fellow eating establishment got the money, though of course, Ruth's Chris dwarfs his operation, but he's still waiting for his money and trying to stay positive.
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Celnik, you may recall is the owner of Grandi Italiani in Canoga Park and Andre's near the Grove.
I first met him when we did a story on him last month.
This seems like ages ago when Mayor Garcetti ordered restaurants to go 'take out or delivery ' only. He was initially going to defy the order but backed down.
He has about fifty employees, and is doing a third of the business he once did, which compared to others is not bad.
He applied for the PPP loan as it's called the first day, is still waiting, meantime he has employees to pay and of course all the fixed costs all businesses have, mortgage utilities insurance, etc. He's hopeful he can hang on till the money comes.
"I can't pay employees with money I don't have... it's the government that shut us down so I think it's the government's responsibility to make us whole."
The SBA has already approved more than 1 million loans totaling almost 300 billion dollars. Celnik's relatively small 300, 000 is in the pipeline somewhere.
The sooner the better for him and countless others.
In the meantime, stay tuned because LA County is also planning a similar smaller program that should be up and running later this month.