January marked the second consecutive month of declining restaurant sales from the previous month.
According to US Census Bureau datatotal restaurant and drinking place sales were $72 billion in January, down from $72.5 billion in December and November’s peak of $73.1 billion.
January saw a spike in omicron variant COVID-19 infections, which likely dented restaurant sales.
“Yesterday’s sales numbers highlight the unique and devastating impact that restaurants continue to feel from the pandemic,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association. in a statement to Nation Restaurant News.
“While most of the economy showed growth in January, restaurant sales fell for a second consecutive month; after adjusting for inflation, sales were nearly $3 billion below mid-2021.”
The restaurant association continues to press government leaders for the need for financial relief for restaurants affected by the virus and government interventions.
“Small business restaurants are not like other small businesses,” Kennedy said. “Even in the best of times, they perform a balancing act to provide exceptional service and make ends meet. Thousands of these restaurants were left in limbo when the Restaurant Revitalization Fund closed, and without the replenishment, chances are we’ll start to see many of them close.