A new report released by the National Restaurant Association shows that restaurants across the country continue to struggle because of the Covid-19 pandemic. More than three-quarters of the 3,000 restaurateurs recently surveyed by the association say their sales were lower in January than they were in January 2020 and, on average, sales were down 26%.
Full-service independent restaurants fared worse in January, the association said. with sales down 36% from the previous year. Limited-service franchise restaurants saw the smallest decline, with sales down just 8%. Part of the slowdown was caused by a drop in the number of restaurants able to offer outdoor dining in areas where it was too cold to do so. Although take-out sales have increased, they have not increased enough to make up for lost sales from restaurant customers.
Going forward, just 18% of restaurateurs expect sales to increase in February or March, and 14% say they will “likely” or “permanently” close within three months if the federal government doesn’t. does not approve of additional relief measures. Overall, the association estimates that more than 110,000 restaurants have closed permanently or temporarily since the start of the pandemic.