Many companies that have not received Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grants of the federal government during the pandemic are facing dire situations.
Nearly 60% of restaurants said their sales more than halved in December 2021 during the Omicron push.
Nearly 50% of businesses without federal subsidies were forced to lay off staff due to a COVID-19-related shutdown or lack of sales in December. This is only true for 33% of companies that received the FRR.
This data comes from the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), which last week released results for nearly 1,200 members of the independent restaurant and bar community in all 50 states.
The survey responses were collected in January and show the precarious situation faced by small restaurants and bars as well as the impact of the Omicron variant in recent weeks.
“These data clearly show what we have been saying all along: independent restaurant and bar owners excluded from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund are taking on massive debt, laying off employees and selling personal assets to stay in business,” Erika Polmar, executive director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, said in prepared remarks.
The IRC has measured the struggles of independent restaurants in a variety of ways. He noted, for example, that the Omicron variant is affecting restaurant reservations in cities across the country. Bookings in Brooklyn (68%), Chicago (72%), New Orleans (85%) and Los Angeles (52%) are well below their 2019 levels. And 58% of businesses said their sales had more than halved by December 2021.
It also reports that 28% of businesses that have not received RRF grants have received or expect to receive an eviction notice, compared to only 10% that have received RRF grants.
Additionally, restaurant and bar owners who did not receive an RRF grant are taking on more debt with 41% of those who did not receive an RRF said they had taken out new personal loans to support their businesses since February. 2020. This is only true for 19% of companies that have received a grant from the FRR.
At the same time, restaurants are taking steps to retain staff amid the Great Resignation. The IRC found that 84% of all restaurants said they increased wages and 37% of all companies said they added paid sick leave to employees. Additionally, 21% of all employees said they have started adding paid time off for employees.