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Hart House 4.jpg Photo courtesy of Hart House
Hart House

Hart House is helping its employees pay off their student loan debt

Hart House will now provide employees access to Savi’s platform to find and apply for student loan repayment and forgiveness options for free.

Hart House, a plant-based concept founded in 2022 by actor Kevin Hart, is now offering employees at its four units student loan repayment assistance. The new benefit was created in partnership with Savi, a Washington, DC-based startup that was founded in 2017 to help find repayment and forgiveness options for the more than 45 million borrowers impacted by student loan debt.

According to the Education Data initiative, the average debt per borrower is $37,338. Equifax data shows that 20% of accommodation and restaurant employees have student debt and pay over $235 a month on average toward those loans. The Hart House benefit applies to all employees, including part-time workers and new hires. They will have access to Savi’s platform, where they can find and apply for repayment and forgiveness options for free.

“For far too long, workers in the restaurant industry have been overlooked,” Hart House CEO Andy Hooper said in a statement. “It’s time for us to start changing this behavior by investing in our employees and providing them with benefits that can greatly impact their lives, such as student loan repayment programs. By providing such benefits, we can help all employees live better financial lives and achieve upward mobility.”

Employee benefits and pay have become a north star for Hart House since its creation in 2022 and it is why the company is sticking to company-owned restaurants rather than franchising for now, Hooper told Nation’s Restaurant News last month.

With this new benefit, Hart House joins Chipotle in helping to reduce its employees’ student debt burdens. In January, Chipotle added a new student loan retirement match program through SoFi’s Student Loan Verification service.

According to the 2023 State of the Industry report from the National Restaurant Association, most operators said they struggle to fill critical positions. Some restaurant executives have acknowledged the need to have more than just higher pay to win the recruitment and retention war. As such, several brands have spent the past few years ramping up their benefits offerings, including Dine Brands, which recently added a new Parent Transition Program. Noodles & Company recently added pet care support, backup dependent care, and immigration reimbursement. Last year, Brinker extended its educational benefits to family members of Chili’s and Maggiano’s employees. TGI Fridays even started reimbursing its general managers for vacation expenses last year.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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