Business & Lobbying

Most restaurant owners say business conditions have declined in recent months

Most restaurant owners say that business conditions have declined in recent months, according to a survey from the National Restaurant Association (NRA) released Wednesday.

According to the survey of more than 4,000 restaurant operators, 58 percent said that business conditions for their restaurants are worse now than they were three months ago. Only 9 percent said that conditions improved during that time.

Looking in the future, 44 percent said that it would be more than a year before business conditions return to normal for their restaurant, while 23 percent said it would be seven to 12 months. An additional 19 percent said business conditions would never return to normal.

The restaurant industry was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic last year. While the NRA said the industry has restored many of the jobs lost, most restaurants said they still don’t have enough employees to meet customer demand.

Further, 78 percent of operators said their restaurants experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor dining amid the delta variant.

The trade group released the survey the same day it sent a letter to congressional leaders raising concerns about the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package — known as the “Build Back Better Act.”

The group asked the leaders to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was passed as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to help restaurants with payroll, mortgage payments, and other eligible expenses.

“Our nation’s restaurant recovery is officially moving in reverse. The lingering effects of the delta variant is a further drag on an industry struggling with rising costs and falling revenue,” reads the letter.

“It’s against this grim economic backdrop that we offer our input on the Build Back Better Act — specifically, our opposition with proposed tax increases on restaurants, our renewed call for replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and our objections to the unprecedented changes to the National Labor Relations Act that could bankrupt many businesses,” it adds. 

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