March 25, 2020

New research details early impact of coronavirus pandemic on restaurant industry

A new Association survey of 5,000 operators found that 44% have temporarily closed their restaurants, and 11% say they anticipate permanently closing within 30 days.

As the coronavirus epidemic rages on, 3% of restaurant operators have already permanently closed their restaurants, 44% have temporarily closed their restaurants, and 11% say they anticipate they will permanently close within the next 30 days, according to new research from the National Restaurant Association.

A survey of more than 5,000 restaurant owners and operators conducted by the Association found:

  • Nationwide, sales were down 47% during the period from March 1 to March 22
  • 54% of restaurant operators have switched to off-premises service only
  • Seven in 10 operators have had to lay off employees and reduce the number of hours worked
  • Roughly half of them anticipate more layoffs and hourly reductions over the next 30 days
  • More than six in 10 said they’ve had to reduce their operating hours

Download our infographic to see how the pandemic is impacting our industry

A full 88% of operators reported that total sales volume between March 1 and March 22 this year was lower than it was during the same period a year ago.

“Association research found that 54% of operators made the switch to all off-premises services; 44% have had to temporarily close down. This is uncharted territory,” said Hudson Riehle, the Association’s senior vice president of research. “The industry has never experienced anything like this before.”

Based on the survey results, the National Restaurant Association estimates that during the first 22 days of March, the restaurant industry lost an estimated $25 billion in sales and more than 3 million jobs.

For the latest information from the Association, go to our coronavirus information and resources page.