Survey: Hoosier Restaurants Running Out of Time

Inside INdiana Business is reporting that the National Restaurant Association has released updated data showing the impact of COVID-19 on restaurants. The survey revealed 41% of Indiana operators say it is unlikely their restaurant will be in business six months from now, if business conditions continue at current levels.

The association says the data was collected from 3,500 restaurant operators between August 26 and September 1.

“Our industry is doing everything it can to stay afloat, take care of their employees and continue to serve their communities, but bluntly, they can only do so much and for so much longer,” said Patrick Tamm, president of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association. “They desperately need additional relief from the government and continued patronage of their establishments from both a dine-in and carryout perspective. It will be near impossible to operate like this with colder weather on the way and little outdoor seating options. We have not begun the healing process, and without relief, many currently and previously in the hospitality industry will be or will continue to be unemployed.”

According to the data, consumer spending in restaurants stayed well below normal levels in August. The report says 88% of Hoosier restaurant operators say their total sales volume in August was lower than it was in August 2019. Overall, the survey found sales were down 37% on average.

With on-premises dining capacity limited, the association says off-premises is increasingly important. The survey found 64% of operators say off-premises sales currently represents a higher proportion of their total business than it did prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The report says 66% say they don’t expect their restaurant’s sales to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next six months.

In terms of restaurant jobs, the survey indicated 43% of Indiana restaurant operators do not expect their staffing levels to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next six months. Although many restaurants brought back employees as restrictions were partially lifted in recent months, overall staffing levels remain well below normal.

On average, Hoosier restaurant operators say current staffing levels are only 70% of what they would typically be. About a fourth of Indiana restaurant operators say they plan to add more employees during the next 30 days, while 21% say they anticipate laying off or furloughing more employees over the same period.