The former CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr., says some restaurants simply won't survive the coronavirus outbreak.
"I think you'll probably see some of the weaker companies not around when this is over," Andy Puzder told Cheddar on Tuesday.
Puzder, who is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and the author of "The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left's Plot to Stop It," believes the current stimulus package is likely to help restaurants, but it's long-term trends that will keep them alive.
"I will say that restaurants are a lot better set up to respond to this today than they would have been five or six years ago because now you've got third-party delivery all across the industry," he said. "Almost every company, almost every brand has third party delivery. That's a big deal in this crisis. I think a lot of people are ordering food online. It's very important."
He also said he's seeing an uptick in drive-through and curb-service options at chains formerly invested in the sit-down experience, such as Outback Steakhouse offering delivery.
"I think you're seeing restaurants striving to do everything that they can to survive," he said.
One upside, according to the former CEO who had touted the strength of the economy despite the coronavirus earlier this month, is that the stimulus package accounts for restaurants' business model.
The $2.2 trillion bill makes an exception for restaurants and hospitality companies, in which they can access small business assistance for individual locations, even if their whole company cumulatively has more than 500 employees.
While Trump had a bit of a "slow start," Puzder said, he's doing well in addressing the crisis. "I think his response has been great," he concluded.