Report: U.S. Restaurants Face $80 Billion Revenue Loss by Month’s End

An empty restaurant in Brooklyn. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

The National Restaurant Association has released the results of its research on the U.S. restaurant industry in the wake of the coronavirus and the shuttering of the more than one million restaurants usually operating in the United States. The results show billions in lost revenue:

Combined with the estimated $30 billion in lost sales in March, the industry could see combined losses of $80 billion by the end of the month, and up to $240 billion by the end of the year.

The research — a survey of more than 6,500 restaurant operators conducted between April 10 and April 16 — illustrates the damage to the industry since the outbreak began. More than any other industry in the United States, restaurants have experienced the most significant sales and job losses since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Other highlights of the research include:

  • More than eight million restaurant employees have been laid off or furloughed since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak
  • Two out of three restaurant employees have lost their jobs
  • The restaurant industry expects to lose $80 billion in sales by the end of April and up to $240 billion by the end of 2020
  • Four in ten restaurants are closed
  • 61 percent of operators say existing federal relief won’t prevent more restaurant layoffs

The association is hoping its research can be used to lobby Congress to enact a “Blueprint for Recovery” “to provide targeted relief for the restaurant industry, the nation’s second largest private sector employer with sales that exceed agriculture, airlines, railroads, ground transportation ,and spectator sports combined.”

The blueprint asked Congress to authorize and appropriate a Temporary Emergency $240 Billion Restaurant and Foodservice Industry Recovery Fund (“RFIRF”).

The Blueprint states, in part:

Available on a quarterly basis, the grants would be requested by restaurants through a new portal at the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) where restaurant owners would apply for up to, but no more than, the prior year-on-years quarterly gross revenue, subject to terms and conditions on the use of these funds, through the end of 2020. The size of the $240 billion RFIRF is based off already-accrued and estimated losses industry-wide through the end of 2020. The grants shall be used broadly for payroll expenses and operating expenses, e.g., rent, utilities, ongoing debt obligations, business insurance premiums, vendor payments, etc..; and for reopening expenses, including stock, inventory, sanitation equipment, health and safety compliance, etc..

The blueprint also calls for fixing “structural Issues of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP),” specifically so that the program works with the “realities” of the restaurant industry.

It also calls for “federal relief for employer’s share of unemployment insurance” and to “increase funding for economic injury disaster loans.”

The association also supports legislation sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) to expand SNAP food assistance to include restaurants during the pandemic.

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