You’re reading this right: Only 1 in 5 restaurant owners are certain they can survive the COVID-19 crisis despite stimulus assistance – putting 11 million workers and our $1 trillion industry at risk.
This troubling statistic was just one of the many we released today in conjunction with the James Beard Foundation, who surveyed more than 1,400 restaurant owners across the country. Additional findings include:
Paying rent (39%) and paying vendors (35%) are seen as bigger challenges to reopening than making payroll (34%) or rehiring staff (15%).
41% of restaurants ranked the slow return of customers as the biggest challenge to reopening.
51% of restaurants responding have taken at least $50,000 in new debt obligations as a result of COVID-19.
Nearly 6 in 10 restaurants thought they could survive only one more week or one more month given the current decline in sales and before a government order to halt business.
As many of you know, restaurants that haven’t already permanently closed are inching toward it every single day, thanks in large part to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which isn’t working for our industry.
Even more troubling, the SBA announced today that they’ve run out of funds allocated for the PPP, and last week Congress failed to pass an increase in funding. With an additional 5.2 million new unemployment claims in the last week — bringing the total to over 22 million — the time for Congress to take action is NOW.
We aren’t asking Congress for a handout, we are warning Congress: Act now as if a major cornerstone of the economy is about to be eviscerated. Because it is.
If you want to save a $1 trillion driver of our economy that employs more than 11 million people, then give independent restaurants the assistance they need to survive. Reopening restaurants isn’t just about rebuilding communities, it’s also about restoring the economy.