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Letter to Nancy Pelosi Says Restaurant Recovery Is “Moving in Reverse”

More than half of restaurant operators say business is worse than three months ago

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The National Restaurant Association on Wednesday sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders that shared discouraging results of a recent survey it conducted regarding business conditions in the food service industry.

In the national survey including 4,000 restaurant operators, a majority said business conditions are worse now than three months ago. Additionally, 44% of operators think it will be more than a year before business conditions return to normal, and 19% believe they never will.

The survey also found:

  • Although the industry has added back many of the jobs lost during the pandemic, 78% of operators say their restaurant doesn’t have enough employees to support current customer demand.
  • Costs are up – 91% of operators are paying more for food; 84% have higher labor costs; 63% are paying higher occupancy costs; and 85% of operators reported smaller margins than before the pandemic.
  • 78% of operators say their restaurant experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor, on-premises dining in recent weeks because of the delta variant spike.

In the letter, the organization warned that certain provisions of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA) could harm restaurant industry rebuilding.

“Our nation’s restaurant recovery is officially moving in reverse,” says Sean Kennedy, EVP of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “The lingering effects of the delta variant are a further drag on an industry struggling with rising costs and falling revenue. We support many of the goals of the Build Back Better Act, but the legislation is too large and too expensive a check for small businesses to take on. Restaurants still need help today, and overwhelming them with costly new obligations will only prevent progress in turning the tide of recovery.”

Read the full letter to congressional leaders here.

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