Potbelly Joins Shake Shack in Returning U.S. Emergency Loan

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(Bloomberg) --

Potbelly said it’s returning a loan it received under the Payroll Protection Program, amid criticism that national chains landed loans at the expense of mom-and-pop firms as the program ran out of money.

The Chicago-based sandwich chain said it was “surprised and disappointed” when the fund was quickly exhausted, leaving many companies without help. It’s returning the loan after “further clarification” from the Treasury Department and will seek alternative means to support its furloughed staff, the company said in a statement Saturday.

Earlier, Shake Shack said it would return the $10 million it borrowed under the program. The U.S. Small Business Administration will restart the relief loan program for small businesses next week with an additional $320 billion, after the first round of funding was exhausted in just 13 days.

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