Business & Investment

Restaurants are returning from the brink as Americans eat out more than ever

How can you tell that the pandemic is almost over? Americans spend more time in restaurants than ever before.

Bar and restaurant sales surged in May for the third straight month, boosting total receipts to a record $ 67.3 billion. New government figures show..

Just months before the coronavirus accused US receipts, sales peaked at $ 66.3 billion in January 2020, then fell 55% when most of the country was blocked to 30 billion. It’s less than a dollar.

read: May retail sales decline as stimulus diminishes, but US economy remains ready for rapid growth

The industry’s recovery from near-death experiences will also accelerate. Restaurant reservations exceeded pre-crisis levels for the first time in May, according to an OpenTable study.

And it could become the standard during the summer. Americans have saved a lot of money during the pandemic, and they are full of cash from federal stimulus payments. Studies show that more and more consumers are planning to eat out in the coming months as their lives return to normal.

Lydia Busser, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, said:

Note: Part of the increase in sales reflects the increase in restaurant menu prices. Even after adjusting for inflation, restaurant sales are about 3% lower than their pre-pandemic peak.

read: Inflation is skyrocketing. How high will it be? Check out the new MarketWatch trackers.

But that’s not all good news. Pandemics leave many wounds and they will take time to heal.

The National Restaurant Association, the industry’s leading trade association, estimates 110,000 of the nearly 1 million restaurants nationwide that closed temporarily or permanently during a pandemic.

Most of them were small independent eateries. According to industry analysts, large chains and chains that are already heavily dependent on takeaway orders worked much better.

The study suggests that one in four restaurants has closed in the past year, according to OpenTable.

The devastation forced virtually every restaurant to cut salaries, encouraging many ex-restaurant workers to leave unemployment benefits or find other jobs.

Regaining all these employees can be another major headache. According to government labor statistics, despite the surge in sales, restaurant employees are 1.48 million fewer than they were before the virus broke out.

Many restaurant owners say they can’t find enough people to cook or wait for customers. Some are raising wages to seduce them, while others have to reduce their services in search of enough workers.

With a silver lining, the crisis forced restaurants to learn how to work with thinner staff by adopting new practices or techniques for producing and delivering food.

As of May, the restaurant had 10.8 million employees, down from 12.3 million before the pandemic. It may take some time for employment to reach that level again.

Restaurants are returning from the brink as Americans eat out more than ever Restaurants are returning from the brink as Americans eat out more than ever

Back to top button