Restaurants Join National Plan to Reopen Economy

    The list includes a number of CEOs, but their responsibility remains unclear.

    Finance | April 2020 | Ben Coley

    Patrick Heagney

    Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown is among the leaders on the list.

    More than a dozen restaurants and foodservice operators will have a seat at the table as the Trump administration navigates the ins and outs of reopening the country’s economy.

    In addition to restaurants, there are groups covering agriculture, banking, construction/labor, defense, energy, financial services, health care, hospitality, manufacturing, real estate, retail, technology, telecommunications, transportation, sports, and thought groups.

    The White House referred to these stakeholders as bipartisan groups that will work together with the administration to “chart the path forward toward a future of unparalleled American prosperity.”

    The restaurants and independent operators in the Food and Beverage group include:

    • National Restaurant Association CEO Marvin Irby
    • McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski
    • Darden Restaurants CEO Gene Lee Jr.
    • Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy
    • Subway CEO John Chidsey
    • Bloomin’ Brands CEO David Deno
    • Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs
    • Papa John’s CEO Rob Lynch
    • Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor
    • Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer
    • Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson
    • Wolfgang Puck
    • Thomas Keller
    • Jean-Georges Vongerichten
    • Daniel Boulud
    • M Crowd Restaurant Group co-founder Ray Washburne
    • Jimmy John’s founder Jimmy John Liautaud
    • Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown

     

    Other notable members are Pepsi CEO Ramon Laguarta, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey,  Michael Mullen, Kraft’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, Dirk Van Dongen, CEO of the National Association of Wholesale Distributors, and Robert Cresanti, CEO of the International Franchise Association.

    President Donald Trump spent several minutes reading the names of every representative during a press briefing Tuesday afternoon, but never explained their specific tasks.

    "Now, we have a list of people that I’ll be speaking to over the next very short period of time— in many cases, tomorrow,” Trump said during the briefing. … We have a list of different industries that I’ll be discussing by—meeting by telephone, because we don’t want people traveling right now.”

    After saying he had the ultimate authority to reopen the nation, Trump said during the briefing that he will speak to all 50 governors and authorize each one to implement a plan of reopening their respective economies.

    Trump indicated that the timeline of openings will differ across state lines, even saying that some may reopen before May 1. But some public health officials such as Surgeon General Jerome Adams and White House advisors Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx have cautioned against such a quick turnaround.

    “Restaurants have been deeply and disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis as state and local governments have taken action to enact social distancing policies. Economic forecasts reveal the industry will sustain at least a $225 billion loss and be forced to eliminate between 5 to 7 million jobs over the next three months,” Irby said Wednesday in a statement. “Despite this extreme economic hardship, restaurants continue to step up in every neighborhood across the country to feed and unite their communities."

    "I look forward to working with the Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups to share the expertise of our industry members and help to set the stage for the safe reopening of our economy and restaurants across America," he added.