Restaurant closures during COVID-19 not as bad as expected
Highlighting the high volume of restaurant business in July and August, Riehle, the restaurant owners association research expert, expects the positive trend to continue as dining and travel restrictions diminish. “Historically, 1 in 4 sales dollars in the industry have come from travel and tourism,” he says. This summer, “the leisure market will return, followed by business, then international tourism”.
Not all news is good for restaurants. Even though owners saw improvement, food and beverage sales for April 2021 were down $ 1.3 billion, or 2%, from sales of $ 66.2 billion in February 2020 before the start of the pandemic. The industry group’s monthly sales and employment reports estimate that, for the past 14 months, sales in the restaurant and foodservice industry are currently $ 290 billion below “predicted pre-pandemic levels.”
Plus, high-profile staff shortages could hamper business as dining rooms continue to fill up. Restaurants are currently down 1.7 million jobs. In New York City, where 5,000 of about 24,000 restaurants are closed, there are about 140,000 fewer jobs than before the pandemic, according to Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.
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Ally Marotti contributed.