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Restaurant Association Says the Industry Is in 'Free Fall'

According to the National Restaurant Association, 10,000 restaurants have closed in just the last three months.

By Cooper Levey-Baker December 7, 2020

According to a letter sent to Congress today from the National Restaurant Association, 10,000 restaurants around the country have closed in just the last three months and the industry remains in "economic free fall" because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter reports results from the association's most recent survey, which finds that most restaurants continue to experience a drop in sales revenue and a majority expect to implement furloughs or layoffs in the coming months.

"What these findings make clear is that more than 500,000 restaurants of every business type—franchise, chain, and independent—are in an unprecedented economic decline," writes Sean Kennedy, the association's executive vice president for public affairs, in the letter. "And for every month that passes without a solution from Congress, thousands more restaurants across the country will close their doors for good."

According to the association's survey, restaurant sales in Florida were down 23 percent on average in October when compared to October 2019. Also, the number of jobs has declined even at restaurants that have stayed open. According to the survey, 76 percent of Florida restaurant operators say their businesses have lower staffing levels than before the pandemic.

To boost the industry, the association is calling on Congress to enact a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, offer more tax credits to restaurants for keeping employees on their payrolls and create incentives for restaurants to partner with government agencies and nonprofits to supply meals to vulnerable populations, among several other proposals.

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