Schnucks Supermarket CEO Todd Schnuck explains the initiative to help restaurants struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic by giving 14,000 employees gift cards to spend at the establishments, calling it a ‘win-win.’
Schnucks Supermarket CEO Todd Schnuck on Sunday explained the initiative his company created to help restaurants struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic – giving 14,000 Schnucks employees gift cards to spend at the local establishments.
"We’re a family-owned business. We’ve been in business for 81 years and we often talk about being a company of families and in this case we thought about our food family and broader than just our own business, we thought about those that add such vibrancy to our communities and those are the restaurants and the restaurant workers," Schnuck told "America’s News HQ" on Sunday.
"And so we thought it was really a win-win kind of situation."
He explained that the initiative to purchase about $200,000 worth of gift cards for Schnucks employees to use at local restaurants is a way that "we could thank our teammates who have been working so hard this year through the whole pandemic while paying it forward to a degree."
The company said that each Schnucks employee will receive a $15 gift card to a restaurant located within five miles of their work location.
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Host Leland Vittert asked Schnuck what the reaction was from restaurant owners who learned the company was buying $200,000 worth of gift cards.
Schnuck said he learned from the organizer of the initiative that "the owners were in stunned silence and a couple were brought to tears and one, in particular, said, ‘I’m working on my budget for January right now and I did not know how I was going to pay my rent and now with this check I can pay my rent for January and keep my business going.’"
Schnuck added that employees also think the initiative is "amazing."
"They love getting the gift card itself, but what they really liked was that they can help by using that, they’re helping others," Schnuck explained.
"And our mission as a company is to nourish people’s lives and it goes more than just feeding our customers, but it’s taking care of our teammates and it’s taking care of our communities and so they really saw this as a way that we are living on what we profess."
He acknowledged that $200,000 is a lot of money especially in a time when businesses are incurring increased costs to keep employees safe, but added that "it is so worth it to be able to help those that are really struggling."
"Frankly the supermarkets have been a beneficiary during this time because more people [are] eating at home, the restaurants [have been] closed down so it was good for us to take some of that and help out those that are struggling," Schnuck continued.
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The company, which was founded in St. Louis in 1939, has been helping local restaurants throughout the pandemic when many are operating with reduced capacity or are only offering takeout services. In April, the supermarket chain announced that it would begin carrying grab-and-go meals from local restaurants.