A Restaurateur Waiting for Consumers

COVID-19: Nearly 100,000 restaurants close down, face $240bn loss in 2020: Report

*US restaurants projected to lose $240billion in 2020 as almost 3 million eatery employees are still out of work

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Following several months of the ‘New Normal’ resulting from the far-reaching impacts of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the restaurant industry is said to be reeling in the shocks.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) said “devastated” might not be too strong a word to describe the situation especially in the US, says agency report.

It was gathered that a new NRA survey showed about 100,000 restaurants ─ nearly one in six ─ have either shut down permanently, or closed for the foreseeable future.

Nearly 3 million restaurant employees are still out of work, report stated.

Currently, consumers are reportedly worried about the fate of their usual favourite eateries as the survey results are grim indeed.

Despite a rapid shift to take-out and delivery sales, most restaurants say they are still struggling to survive.

As sales were still a third lower in August 2020, consumer spending at restaurants was well below normal in last month with restaurant sales down an average of 34 percent. Together, the nation’s restaurants are projected to lose $240 billion this year.

NRA research estimates that more than 100,000 restaurants will have closed their doors by the end of this year, though it could be worse.

The scope of the damage won’t be known until government statistics are released in the months ahead.

Making matters worse, restaurant operators are having to spend more money to serve fewer customers.

About 60 percent of operators say costs as a percentage of sales are higher than before the pandemic.

Even those restaurants that are still open and appear to be successfully navigating the pandemic are far from full strength, with staffing levels only 71 percent of what they were in February.

Tom Bené, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Restaurant Association, said: “For an industry built on service and hospitality, the last six months have challenged the core understanding of our business.

“Our survival for this comes down to the creativity and entrepreneurship of owners, operators, and employees.”

From independent owners to multi-unit franchise operators, Bene declares that restaurants are losing money every month, and they continue to struggle to serve their communities and support their employees.

According to report, if this sounds grim, NRA says it could get worse in the months ahead.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Congress provided trillions of Dollars in help for both consumers and businesses.

But that state help has expired and, with an election looming in November, there seems to be little momentum in Washington (The White House) to extend it.

In the survey, 40 percent of restaurant operators think it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now, if there are no additional relief packages from the US Government.

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