Breakfast Briefing: 5 things for PR pros to know on Thursday morning

Cheesecake Factory isn’t paying rent; Sam’s Club thanks workers by name in new spot.

Cheesecake Factory isn’t paying rent in April. In a letter to landlords, the company’s chairman and CEO David Overton wrote that a severe decline in restaurant traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic has “inflicted a tremendous financial blow” to business. The company hopes to resume paying rent as soon as possible. Some on Twitter hailed the restaurant chain for for “starting the revolution” by refusing to pay rent. 

Sam’s Club is thanking people working in retail amid the pandemic. The warehouse retailer released a video on Wednesday night naming hundreds of its employees. The spot ends with the message: “Thank you to each and every Sam’s Club associate. And all the retail heroes across America.” Sam’s Club shared the video on Twitter with the hashtag #ThankAHero.

McDonald’s is simplifying its operations in response to coronavirus. One way it’s doing that is by removing some items from its U.S. menu, such as its all-day breakfast menu. On Wednesday night, McDonald’s U.S. president Joe Erlinger reassured consumers that the change is only temporary, tweeting, "All day breakfast’s response to this news: 'I’ll be back.'"

As clients pull back spending, layoffs begin at PR firms. New York-based agency PR Consulting is laying off 32 staffers at the end of the week; and BPCM has also laid off employees. New York-based boutique agency Sequel, formerly Think PR, whose clients include W Hotels Worldwide, Free People, Missoma, Century 21 Department Stores and BoxyCharm, also laid off some staff and implemented pay cuts this week. Here are other agencies that are making changes.

Doctors are taking to Twitter to talk about conditions in NYC hospitals. An internal medicine resident (@thisismeredith) has been live-tweeting her experience because “the press does not reflect our reality.” She tweeted on Wednesday that the ICU she works in is “completely full with intubated COVID patients.” Earlier this week, Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital, posted a Twitter thread that went viral, describing a typical day as an ER doctor helping coronavirus patients.   

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