Some 100,000 restaurants have been shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to survey data released Sept. 14 by the National Restaurant Association. That’s nearly one in six that have either closed permanently or for the long term during the past six months; the NRA notes that the initial scope of closures for 2020 won’t be known until government statistics come out in the months ahead.
What’s more, nearly 3 million restaurant employees remain out of work. The NRA’s analysis shows that the foodservice industry lost $165 billion in revenue March through July, and it’s on track to lose $240 billion in sales in 2020.
The survey asked restaurant operators about the six-month impact of the pandemic on their businesses. Unsurprisingly, most restaurants are still struggling to survive and don’t expect any real improvement during the next six months. Among the other findings:
- Restaurant sales were down 34% on average in August.
- 60% of operators say their restaurant’s total operational costs (as a percent of sales) are higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- On average, restaurant operators say their current staffing levels are only 71% of what they would typically be in the absence of COVID-19.
- In a recent consumer survey, 56% of adults said they are aware of a restaurant in their community that permanently closed during the pandemic.
The survey also found that 40% of operators don’t believe it’s likely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now without additional relief packages from the federal government. The Association highlighted this for Congress and the Trump Administration in a letter sent Sept. 14, asking them to use bipartisan support to pass small business programs in stand-alone bills.