Looking at Restaurant Recovery in 2021
So far, 2021 seems like a better year for restaurants. With vaccines rolling out and states reopening safely, the other side of this pandemic has finally come into sight. Nevertheless, restaurant recovery needs more than just steady traffic. After a year of budget cuts, layoffs, and furloughs, and not to mention a whole lot of profit loss, the foodservice industry needs relief efforts to get back to its former glory.
Restaurants can give thanks to these fundraisers and volunteers for giving them their goodwill. We need more donations and organized action to achieve strong restaurant recovery.
How Restaurant Recovery Makes a Difference
1. Fix the Understaffing Problem
When the pandemic first hit the states, a lot of restaurants had to close. Those that didn’t still cut down their staff. Dining rooms closed and finances plummeted. Reducing labor costs was one of the few ways to make it through on takeout and delivery alone.
One restaurant recovery fund aimed at bridging this gap: Operation BBQ Relief. They give restaurants money to rehire some of their staff to meet the busyness as vaccines become more commonplace. They’re also supplying food and some other necessities, as well as partnering with national and local organizations that provide to those in need, like homeless people, healthcare workers, and low-income families.
2. Funds to Reset to Normal
Restaurants in debt, understaffed, and working on thin profit margins may simply need investments and donations to get back to their previous efficiency. According to the NPD Group, sales rose 32% this past March as restrictions lifted around the country.
But help comes in unexpected places: On April 15th, Todd Graves, the founder of Raising Cane’s restaurant chain, launched a TV show on Discovery+. ‘Restaurant Recovery’ visits eateries around the country that closed, or nearly closed, because of COVID-19. The show helps pay off debt, gives them equipment to prevent spreading illness, and provides whatever else they need to get back up on their feet.
Each restaurant gets $100K for participation. Not only does this help the owner and employees, but benefits the community as a whole by injecting money into the local economy and strengthening neighborhood bonds.
3. Long-Term Reform
We can’t leave restaurants vulnerable to the same suffering they experienced this year. Long-term, systemic change will protect them moving forward. Already, we’re on our way to federal help with the American Rescue Plan.
With a $28.5B stimulus set aside for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, they can invest in restaurant equipment and technology. Efforts like this, alongside vaccines and more safe reopening procedures, will reopen us to a better world. To make sure nothing like this pandemic devastates the industry so badly again, restaurants need long-term federal and state support.
Inspiring Restaurant Recovery
Efforts like these are a good start, but we need more intensive measures to beat this virus and finally move past it. We also need to build safety nets into the fabric of the hospitality industry. We can’t leave it as vulnerable as this year has proven possible.
The foodservice industry has almost made it through one of the darkest periods in its history. Together, total restaurant recovery is possible—to the point of success they enjoyed before the pandemic, and even beyond.