- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2020

The National Restaurant Association said Monday the restaurant and food service industry will lose $50 billion in sales by the end of April if current projections remain the same.

The trade association for the restaurant industry surveyed 6,500 restaurant operators nationwide from April 10-16 and it said it discovered sales were down 78% on average for the first 10 days of April.

“As a result of the dramatic sales losses in recent weeks, restaurant operators across the country were forced to cut staffing levels,” wrote Bruce Grindy, the National Restaurant Association’s chief economist, on its website. “Eighty-eight percent of operators say they laid off or furloughed employees since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March. On average, these operators cut 83 percent of their restaurant’s total staff. Forty-one percent of these operators laid off or furloughed 100 percent of their staff.”

The association estimates that 8 million restaurant employees were laid off or furloughed since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in March, which the association said represents approximately two-thirds of the entire workforce at the nation’s “eating and drinking places” in February.

The association has also reportedly turned to Congress for immediate financial assistance, requesting $240 billion for a federal recovery fund to cover such things as payroll, rent, utilities, debt obligations and several other expenses, according to the Nation’s Restaurant News.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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