Restaurant Sales Rose in August
But operators remained concerned. After the initial sales bounce that followed the government-mandated lockdowns during the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, consumer spending in restaurants slowed during the peak summer months. Eating and drinking places* posted sales of $54.6 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis in August, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Census Bureau. While the sales gains in July (4.1%) and August (4.7%) continued to point the trendline in a positive direction, they were well below the robust growth registered in May (31.3%) and June (27.2%). As a result, total sales in August were still nearly $11 billion lower than the pre-coronavirus levels posted in January and February. As total restaurant sales losses topped $185 billion, a majority of operators do not expect their business to fully recover within 6 months.
NJBIA Warns Restaurants Can’t Survive Much Longer
Under 25% dining capacity restrictions. NJBIA President Michele Siekerka told a national television audience Tuesday that New Jersey restaurants will not be able to survive much longer operating under the state-ordered 25% restriction on indoor dining capacity, especially when outdoor dining options disappear with the arrival of colder weather. “It just doesn’t work,” Siekerka told Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto.” “Many restaurants remain closed because they didn’t have large capacity to begin with. And then complying with an executive order that limited them to 25% would be a money-losing proposition.
Hitting the Reset Button
Will America make it to V-Day? If only there was an actual reset button the world could hit to rewind back to New Year’s Eve 2020. When millions of spectators gathered in Times Square, New York to celebrate the beginning of the new year – a year no one imagined would result in thousands of deaths and millions sickened worldwide. New Year’s Eve was one of the last big events the world celebrated before the pandemic wreaked havoc across the globe, isolating everyone in its path. Government officials have rolled back and continue to curtail the reopening of restaurants, bars, catering facilities and entertainment venues. Will these business owners survive until a vaccine is released?
Restaurants Brace for Colder Weather
As indoor dining remains limited. While the colorful leaves and crisp air of fall may be long-awaited for some Americans, the season’s brisk temperatures are posing a real threat to restaurants in many parts of the U.S. State and local governments continue to limit indoor dining, especially in states like New York and New Jersey that have been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Even states like Colorado, which has fewer than 62,000 cases, still aren’t greenlighting full indoor dining. To extend outdoor dining as long as possible, restaurant owners around the country are arming themselves with heaters and preparing to construct tents. Many owners, however, agree that these measures will be no match for the weather come November.
Catering Halls – What About Those Lavish Weddings
Sweet 16s and partying like it’s 1999? Planning a wedding or milestone birthday bash in New York City? The good news is that the party can go on indoors at a catering hall after Sept. 30. Until further restrictions change going forward from that point, however, it cannot be more than 50 people at a clip. Allowances for restaurants in New York State also will translate to catering halls, according to a spokesman for the governor’s office. Banquet venues can operate at either 25% indoor capacity or 50 people, whichever is less, by September’s end.
New Guidelines Hurt Restaurants
Encourage house parties. Bar, restaurant and business owners continue to grapple with the economic problems that stem from COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions. After dining-in at restaurants was permitted again, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf created restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses by only seating people indoors at up to 25% of its capacity. However, Wolf announced that beginning Sept. 21 restaurants may increase indoor capacity to 50%, a 25% increase. Further, starting Sept. 21 restaurants that have alcohol sales will close alcohol sales at 10 p.m.,” the press release said. Many college students believe the ceasing of the alcohol sales at 10 p.m. is a loss of what little remains of an average student experience.
Business Owners in College Towns
Are ‘trying to do everything’ they can to stay afloat. Businesses in college towns in the US are still reeling from the mass exodus of students that began in the spring and has now remained into the fall. Many schools have adopted online-only approaches to learning or implemented a hybrid approach that brings only some students back to campus. As their primary clientele — students, their families, and other members of university communities — diminishes, some business owners face a difficult decision: temporarily shut down again or close forever.
Did You Know?
Virtual Kitchen, founded by ex-Uber execs to help restaurants with delivery, raises $20 million. Founders Fund, the venture firm started by Peter Thiel, led a $20 million investment in Virtual Kitchen. The start-up helps restaurants deliver to customers while reducing real estate costs. Virtual Kitchen is competing with Travis Kalanick’s Cloud Kitchens. Virtual Kitchen, a start-up founded by two ex-Uber executives, has just raised $20 million of fresh capital, according to a filing on Tuesday with the SEC. The company provides technology to set up commercial kitchens designed for delivery, allowing restaurants to get food to customers without the expense and hassle of running a dining room or storefront — a model that’s especially attractive in the age of coronavirus lockdowns.
New proposal aims to break deadlock holding up your next stimulus check. Stimulus checks of $1,200 per taxpayer. Extra unemployment payments of at least $450 a week. Aid to state and local governments earmarked for coping with the coronavirus. The Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of 50 moderate House members from both parties, offered their own proposals Tuesday in an effort to restart negotiations on new stimulus legislation.
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