A year into the pandemic, much of the restaurant industry is still feeling the daily impacts of job and revenue loss greater than any other industry. Congressional support through tools like the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will help us on our road to recovery, but hundreds of thousands of hard-hit restaurants will limp through 2021 incredibly weak. The decisions made in Congress —on everything from tax policy to labor relations—will have an outsized impact on the restaurant industry as we struggle to keep our doors open. We urge congress to take a “do no harm” approach to issues affecting restaurants and our workforce.
Congress is considering a $147 billion tax increase that reduces the Small Business Tax Deduction currently utilized by the vast majority of restaurants across the country. With restaurants operating on thin margins and still facing the economic effects of COVID-19, the National Restaurant Association strongly opposes any tax increase on restaurants.
Looking ahead – Survey Results from Restaurant Operators
In our most recent survey of restaurant owners nationwide, there is cautious optimism that the industry is on a path to recovery, but 2021 will be a year of continued closures and weakness.
Consumer spending in restaurants remained well below pre-pandemic levels in January. Overall, 77% of restaurant operators say their total dollar sales volume in Jan. 2021 was lower than it was in January 2020.
The industry lost nearly 450,000 restaurant jobs between November 2020 and January 2021, representing about 10% of the total jobs recovered during the first 6 months after the spring shutdowns. 80% of operators say their current staffing level is lower than what it would normally be in the absence of COVID-19.
Looking farther down the road, most restaurant operators do not expect a return to normal business conditions any time soon. 32% of operators think it will be 7-12 months before business conditions return to normal for their restaurant, while 29% think it will be more than a year. An additional 10% of operators say business conditions will never return to normal for their restaurant