Cheesecake Factory furloughs 41,000 hourly workers because of coronavirus

Filings for unemployment benefits hit a record 3.3 million last week, the Labor Department said showing the coronavirus’s damage to the economy. USA TODAY

Cheesecake Factory furloughs 41,000 hourly workers because of coronavirus

The Cheesecake Factory furloughed 41,000 hourly employees because of partial closings at restaurants caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the chain said furloughed workers will retain their benefits eligibility and insurance until June 1. They will receive one free daily meal from the restaurant where they're employed.

Cheesecake Factory said chairman and CEO David Overton and other executives will take a 20% pay cut from their base salaries effective April 1. The company's board of directors will take a 20% reduction in annual cash retainer fees.

The restaurant chain previously said it informed its landlords it will skip April rent payments at its locations.

"We are certain that with their partnership, we will be able to work together to weather this storm in the appropriate manner," the Cheesecake Factory said in a statement.

The chain, along with other restaurants nationwide, shut down dine-in options because of the outbreak. Many restaurants still offer delivery or takeout.

Cheesecake Factory is among several companies announcing layoffs or furloughs as the coronavirus ravages the U.S. economy. Hotel chains Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott all announced furloughs in response to the pandemic.

Thursday, the Labor Department said a record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.


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