Two-Thirds Of Restaurant Employees Have Lost Their Jobs During Coronavirus Outbreak

  • New research reveals just how badly the restaurant industry is being devastated amid quarantine orders nationwide.
  • Four in ten restaurants have closed entirely, and 61% of operators say federal relief won’t be enough to keep more layoffs from happening.
  • It’s estimated the industry will see $240 billion in losses by the end of 2020.

WASHINGTON — Restaurants, diners, and other eating establishments have been forced to close their doors to the public indefinitely as the coronavirus outbreak spreads across the U.S. As a result, over eight million workers now find themselves out of a job. That adds up to two out of every three U.S. restaurant employees, according to a new national survey just conducted by the National Restaurant Association.

In all, over 6,500 restaurants took part in the research, which took place between April 10th-16th.

The survey’s findings, in short, are anything but positive. The restaurant industry has seen more sales & job losses than any other major industry in the country since this pandemic began.

Right now, four in 10 restaurants are shut down completely, and the entire industry is projected to lose $240 billion by the end of 2020. By the end of just this month, restaurants will have lost $80 billion in sales alone ($50 billion in April, $30 billion in March).

Making matters worse, 61% of surveyed restaurant operators say that current federal relief measures, including the CARES Act, won’t be enough to avoid even more layoffs and furloughs.


“The restaurant industry has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus mandates—suffering more sales and job losses than any other industry in the country,” comments Executive Vice President of National Restaurant Association Public Affairs Sean Kennedy in a press release.

The restaurant industry as a whole is larger than the airline, railroad, sporting event, and ground transportation industries combined. It is also the second biggest private sector source of employment.

“On March 18, we wrote you warning of a bleak outlook for the restaurant industry…as the pandemic was unfolding.  One month later, we have a clearer picture of the severe challenges that lie ahead, and ask for a focused solution on behalf of an industry that is a vital part of every community,” Kennedy says.

The National Restaurant Association just sent a new proposal to Congress, called the Blueprint for Recovery, regarding how to help restaurants survive this pandemic.

The restaurant industry epitomizes the American dream, but it is uniquely vulnerable to both the current circumstances and the future uncertainty of dining in an era of social distancing,” Kennedy concludes.

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