In the United States, the National Restaurant Association updated congress on the sector’s dire situation less than three months ago, since then an additional 10,000 restaurants have closed across the country.
As of the beginning of this month, 17 percent of restaurants (more than 110,000) are closed permanently or long-term. The vast majority of those permanently shuttered were well-established businesses and fixtures in the community, the Association said. On average, they were in business for 16 years, and 16 percent were open for at least 30 years.
"What these findings make clear is that more than 500,000 restaurants of every business type—franchise, chain, and independent—are in an economic free fall," Sean Kennedy, executive vice president for Public Affairs at the Association, said in a letter to Congressional leadership.
“And for every month that passes without a solution from Congress, thousands more restaurants will close their doors for good."
In findings released by the Association from its latest study, which polled 6,000 operators and 250 supply chain businesses from November 17–20, it showed continued business deterioration across the sector. 58 percent of chain and independent full-service operators told the Association they expect continued furloughs and layoffs for at least the next three months.
Although many restaurants recalled employees after initial lockdowns, overall staffing levels remain well below normal, the Association said. Eighty-one percent of operators said their current staff mark was depressed from 2019 numbers. Forty-five percent said they’re currently more than 20 percent below normal. Looking ahead, 49 percent expect to decrease even further in the next three months, with only 5 percent believing they’ll add employees in that timeframe.
“Our nation is losing a generation of industry talent, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit,” noted Kennedy.
"In short, the restaurant industry simply cannot wait for relief any longer.”
More than 22,000 independent restaurants, workers, and allies from all 50 states have joined the Independent Restaurant Coalition to send a letter to Congress.
“The situation is getting worse,” the letter stated. “The virus is surging, winter weather has made outdoor dining impossible, and restaurants are permanently closing as a result. Laying off employees just before Thanksgiving has been one of the most gut-wrenching experiences of our lives, and without restaurant-specific relief from Congress many will likely never return to work. Governors and Mayors simply don't have the resources to do what Congress can do for restaurant workers.”