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Yum brands CEO to forgo 2020 salary, give $1,000 bonus to restaurant managers

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Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs, whose company owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, will forgo his salary for the remainder of the year to help pay out $1,000 bonuses to all restaurant general managers during the coronavirus pandemic, the company announced Monday.

Gibbs’s salary will pay for one-time bonuses for the company’s nearly 1,200 general managers at KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill company-owned locations, as well as the Yum Brands Foundation Global Employee Medical Relief Fund, CNBC reported, citing a Monday regulatory filing.

Gibbs earns a base salary of $900,000 a year. He is the latest restaurant CEO to take a pay cut or forgo their salary amid the pandemic, which has forced numerous restaurants to end dine-in service. Darden Restaurants CEO Gene Lee will also not take a salary, while Cheesecake Factory CEO David Overton will take a 20 percent pay cut, according to CNBC.

Yum Brands has also suspended a planned $2 billion share buyback program to better support employees and franchisees, Gibbs said last week.

“We can do things like we just did in the United States, which is provide a grace period for our franchisees on their royalties or suspend capital investments for them so they can have the cash to get through this crisis,” Gibbs told CNBC last week.

“We have over $1 billion of cash now. Certainly we’re in a good position,” he added. “But we want to take an abundance of caution as we manage through the challenges of this situation.” The company has also tapped into a $525 million revolving credit facility after earlier in March borrowing $425 million in connection with its acquisition of The Habit Restaurants.

The company has “a big presence in Asia, where the virus has already impacted the market, and we’ve had this great ability to leverage the learnings from that market and take those to the other markets as they start experiencing a little bit of this crisis,” Gibbs added.  

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