60% of Ohio Restaurants Believe They Will Have to Permanently Close within 6 Months If They Don't Get More Federal Support

A survey from the Ohio Restaurant Association says 60% of restaurants in the state feel they will be forced to permanently close within six months if they do not receive additional government support.

click to enlarge Chef and restaurateur Dan Wright closed of all his businesses — Senate, Holiday Spirits and Forty Thieves, Abigail Street and Pontiac — until February - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Chef and restaurateur Dan Wright closed of all his businesses — Senate, Holiday Spirits and Forty Thieves, Abigail Street and Pontiac — until February

According to a recent survey by the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA), 60% of restaurant owners "feel they will be forced to permanently close within six months if they do not receive additional government support."

The ORA has been conducting weekly or bi-weekly surveys of restaurants across the stateto measure the impact of COVID on the hospitality industry. 

The poll taken Nov. 23-Dec. 6 indicates that 66% of restaurants in Ohio are operating at 60% capacity or less (per their owners). Only 10% of Ohio restaurants said they thought they could operate for more than a year. And while 41% of state restaurants said their year-over-year sales have declined by 20%-50%, some — 2% — said they have seen a 20%-50% increase over last year. 

In addition, 91% said they did not anticipate breaking even in 2020. And 71% of respondents said they don't have outdoor space to utilize to help overcome COVID dine-in restrictions. 

“Just when we thought the restaurant industry couldn’t be hit any harder, sales are crashing significantly compared to previous weeks,” said John Barker, president and CEO of the ORA. “Three-quarters of our recent survey respondents report sales dropping by 20% to more than 70% versus a year ago. This compares to roughly half of respondents who reported sales declines at those levels just two weeks ago. The stay-at-home advisories issued in seven counties, as well as the statewide curfew, have caused a severe downturn in traffic and customer counts. Ohio’s restaurants cannot wait for additional government relief any longer.”

Across America, the National Restaurant Association says that 110,000 restaurants have closed, with 52% of those owners saying they won't return to the industry. "On average, these restaurants that are now permanently closed were in business for 16 years in their community. Additionally, 58% percent of chain and independent full-service operators expect continued furloughs and layoffs for at least the next three months," says the ORA.

The ORA and National Restaurant Association are both calling on Congress to pass the federal Blueprint for Restaurant Revival.

In a letter sent to Congress on Dec. 1, ORA President Baker and said, in part:

"...We implore you to return to bipartisan negotiations to complete a new federal relief bill and a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program. The need is urgent for an industry that is the lifeblood of cities and neighborhoods all over the United States and accounts for 51% of the food dollar.

We Request Congress Take Immediate Action – Targeting Proposals that Already Have Extensive Bipartisan Support:

  1. Authorize an additional round of PPP funding with a 20% revenue loss threshold for any 3-month period in 2020, with similar caps as the first round and consideration for businesses that opened in 2020;
  2. Ensure restaurants can deduct business expenses paid with PPP loans;
  3. Provide a tax credit for investments that enhance the safety of customers and employees; and,
  4. Expand the Employee Retention Tax Credit.

We appreciate the eight weeks of financial support Congress provided earlier this year. However, the pandemic and state-mandated government shutdowns have ravaged our industry for more than eight months. The restaurant industry, the second largest in the nation and Ohio, needs help right now more than ever — to survive and keep 15.6 million people employed."

“PPP would enable many small businesses and restaurants to survive the winter and keep employees on the payroll, which is critical considering 585,000 work in the foodservice industry in Ohio,” said Barker.

Learn more at ohiorestaurant.org.

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