National Restaurant Association Tells Congress That Recovery Is ‘Moving In Reverse’

A majority of restaurant operators say business conditions are worse now than three months ago, according to the National Restaurant Association.

The NRA Research Group conducted a COVID-19 Restaurant Impact Survey of 4,000 restaurant operators between September 7 and September 15. The National Restaurant Association sent a letter to Congressional leaders sharing discouraging new operator survey findings and warning of harm that provisions of the Build Back Better Act could inflict on restaurant industry rebuilding.

According to the survey, 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.

Meanwhile, 63% of operators say their sales volume in August, historically one of the busiest months for restaurants, was lower than it was in August 2019.

The trade group is using the results to pressure President Joe Biden to ditch plans to raise the corporate tax rate and proposed changes to the National Labor Relations Act that would allow fines of $50,000 to $100,000 for labor violations.

The association also urged Congress to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was created during the pandemic to help keep the industry afloat.

The survey also found that costs are up, with 91% of operators paying more for food; 84% have higher labor costs and 63% are paying higher occupancy costs.

“Restaurants still need help today and overwhelming them with costly new obligations will only prevent progress in turning the tide of recovery,” NRA Vice President of Public Affairs Sean Kennedy wrote in a letter to Congressional leadership.

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