The numbers are still $ 1.3 billion lower as of February 2020.
Eating out places earned $ 64.9 billion in April, the highest sales month since the pandemic began in March 2020, according to the US Census Bureau.
After a slight drop from January to February, sales figures have now been on the rise for three consecutive months. April’s numbers are about $ 14 billion higher than December’s totals. The industry has come a long way since the pandemic began last year, when sales fell to $ 46.1 billion in March 2020 and $ 29.9 billion in April 2020.
According to Black Box Intelligence, the week ending May 2 was the seventh consecutive week of positive two-year model sales growth for the restaurant industry. The best performing regions were the West, Southwest, Texas, and Southeast. Black Box said most of the strength is coming from growth in the average check per transaction as opposed to traffic, which has yet to regain pre-pandemic levels. Some chains even set records. For example, Applebee’s believes it achieved two of its largest months in its history in March and April, even though the database is only 13 years old. Another positive sign is that In the first quarter, 18,217 restaurant and catering openings, which was 5% better than the first quarter of 2020 and only 4% lower than the first quarter of 2019.
While much progress has been made, April’s numbers are still $ 1.3 billion, or 2%, lower than the $ 66.2 billion earned in February 2020. Between March 2020 and April 2021, sales Total restaurants and food services were down $ 290 billion from expected levels, according to the National Association of Restaurateurs.
In a national survey of 2,500 restaurant owners from April 1 to 14, the Association found that around 90,000 food and beverage outlets are completely closed either permanently or for the long term. Additionally, for most restaurateurs profitability is declining compared to pre-COVID brands and costs are higher. About 65% of those polled said their sales volume in March 2021 was lower than pre-pandemic figures. Only 44% of operators expect average sales from April to June to be higher than in March 2021.
Even for restaurants that experience high sales, the labor shortage remains a big problem. About 84 percent of survey respondents said current staffing is below pre-pandemic levels, and 90 percent said recruiting and retaining employees will likely be more difficult after the pandemic is over. was before it started. Because of this, more than half of full-service operators and 42% of fast-service operators said they could not open to the maximum capacity allowed, the Association revealed. In a survey of more than 360 operators, Black Box found that nearly 60% of those surveyed attributed the labor shortage to the increase in unemployment benefits. And governments have taken note. President Joe Biden has announced that workers must accept suitable job offers or lose unemployment, and at least 16 states will end the increased benefits before the September 6 expiration date.
Eating out places created 187,000 jobs in April, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Around 10.64 million people were employed, which is still down 1.65 million compared to February 2020.