Circle K, the international convenience store chain, is donating a meal to those in need with every fuel transaction, even as the company's own sales have fallen precipitously due to coronavirus.
"We've seen local food bank demand just spike throughout this crisis," CEO Brian Hannasch told Cheddar on Monday. "Circle K is committed to being a part of the solution."
Feeding America, an umbrella organization that helps local food banks secure food, projects a $1.4 billion shortfall in supply over the next six months. The spike in demand comes as upwards of 17 million people have lost their jobs since the coronavirus outbreak hit the U.S. At the same time, federal aid is just beginning to reach people's bank accounts, leaving many Americans in a lurch.
Circle K is partnering with Feeding America to help meet that demand.
The charitable initiative comes as Circle K endures a massive drop in sales. Hannasch said customer visits are down 25 percent, and fuel purchases are down 30 to 50 percent.
"We're trying to stay open," he said. "We're taking a lot of steps to make sure that we protect our employees and our customers."
The company has installed clear barriers between clerks and customers and is aggressively cleaning the retail space each day.
Hannasch said that Circle K is hoping to retain as many employees as possible, particularly in nations without a strong social safety net. The chain has 7,000 sites in the U.S. across 48 states and can be found in more than 20 countries.
"We've really tried to keep people," he said. "In some countries, there are very strong social safety nets, so we have furloughed some people, particularly in Europe. In the U.S., we've put in an emergency $2.50 emergency wage supplement and paid sick leave."