Majority of independent American restaurants say they will close without funding

More than 82% of independent restaurateurs say they are likely to shut down permanently if the U.S. Congress does not quickly replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), according to a new poll.

Independent restaurateurs across the country called on members of the US House Small Business Committee to make restaurant aid a priority during tagging of budget reconciliation package at an Independent Restaurant Coalition press conference (IRC) on September 9.

The new IRC survey also found that 85% of restaurant and bar owners had not received a grant from the RRF. Without these grants, more than 82% of restaurant and bar owners fear they will have to close their doors, the IRC said in a press release.

Additionally, 18.3% of restaurant owners said their credit scores were below 570 during the pandemic, so they can no longer take loans.

“Hundreds of thousands of neighborhood restaurants and bars are now on the verge of permanent closure,” said IRC Executive Director Erika Polmar.

More than 90,000 restaurants and bars have closed since the start of the pandemic, Polmar noted, and “we no longer want to close their doors because Congress and the Biden administration have not provided the relief they need to survive. “.

“The only thing that will save these small businesses that support 16 million jobs is to fill the RRF,” Polmar added.

The RRF is a subsidy relief program inspired by the law on RESTAURANTS of 120 billion dollars (101 billion euros). The grant program provides debt-free support equal to the amount of lost annual income from 2019 and 2020, with special provisions for businesses that opened in 2020 and 2019, according to the IRC.

Brooklyn, New York-based The Food Sermon owner Rawlston Williams said the company “had to shut down at the start of the pandemic just to survive.”

“We reopened in August 2020 and have lost money since. On Friday we closed our doors again. We need the RRF to be able to diversify our offerings, where we don’t just rely on foot traffic, ”said Williams.

Lindsay Tusk, co-owner of Cotogna, Quince and Verjus in San Francisco, Calif., Said the three restaurants were doing well before the pandemic.

“Award-winning and thriving places employing over 200 people. Lots of hard work but a success story all around it, ”Tusk said.

This is in stark contrast to what has happened since the pandemic took hold, she added.

“Since the pandemic, we’ve been in an endless spin,” Tusk said.

Rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations from the rapidly spreading delta variant will likely impact restaurant operations and sales for the rest of the year, according to IRC and the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

Nineteen percent of Americans polled by the NRA said they had quit dining out altogether, while 37 percent ordered takeout or delivery instead of dining out. according to the organization. Additionally, 32% of those surveyed said that if asked to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination to dine indoors again, they would be less likely to dine at a restaurant.

Photo courtesy of Master1305 / Shutterstock

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