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Survey reveals how much havoc COVID-19 is wreaking on Texas restaurants

Survey reveals how much havoc COVID19 is wreaking on Texas restaurants

Rustic San Antonio happy hour beer patio
This was back when patios were full and sales were up. The Rustic

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has increased the indoor occupancy capacity for restaurants up to 75 percent, effective September 21, and maybe in the nick of time.

A COVID-19 Restaurant Impact Survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association conducted in late August has data on the serious declines in sales and business in July and August 2020.

To sum it up, costs were up, sales were down, and optimism way, way down.

Nationally, 100,000 restaurants have closed in the last six months during the pandemic. That's one in six restaurants.

According to NRN, about 3 million restaurant workers are still out of work and the industry is on track to lose $240 billion in sales by the end of 2020.

Yelp has its own figures: 53 percent of the restaurants that were marked closed on their site between March 1-July 1 are permanent. Texas came in second on the list of states with the most closures, and DFW came in fourth on the list of geographic areas, with 1,900 permanent closures and 1,300 temporary closures.

But hey, we'll always have Chick Fil-A.

Sales
Sales in Texas were down compared to 2019, duh. From July 2020 to August 2020, sales were up for some and down for others.

  • Compared to August 2019, sales were down by 33 percent in August 2020.
  • Sales from August 2020 went down from July 2020 for 28 percent of Texas operators.
  • Sales from August 2020 went up from July 2020 for 21 percent of Texas operators.

Even though sales were lower, the cost of doing business was not. Three fourths of those surveyed say their operational costs are higher than they were before the virus.

Off-premise vs on
This one is also no surprise: With on-premises dining capacity limited, off-premises is increasingly important for restaurants. For 77 percent of operators in Texas, off-premises sales currently represents a higher proportion of their total business than it did prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Predictions
The majority of Texas restaurateurs are not optimistic about the future.

  • 75 percent say they don't expect sales to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next six months.
  • 46 percent think it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now, if business conditions continue at current levels.
  • 50 percent say it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now, if there are no additional relief packages from the federal government.

The job market
Many restaurants in Texas have rehired employees but the survey shows that staffing levels remain below normal, at about 71 percent of what it used to be.

  • 42 percent hired employees in July and August.
  • 19 percent laid off or furloughed employees in July and August.
  • 38 percent plan to add more employees during the next 30 days.
  • 17 percent anticipate laying off or furloughing more employees during the next 30 days.

The National Restaurant Association surveyed 3,500 restaurant operators between August 26 and September 1.