The National Restaurant Association estimates that more than 90,000 restaurants and bars have closed since the beginning of the pandemic. You wouldn’t know it from listening in on earnings calls from the big chains. Those well-capitalized companies with significant brand equity can weather most downturns, no doubt, even if they’re consecutive.
But as we barrel toward what many experts believe will be the peak of this latest COVID variant, independent restaurants are limping at best. According to new data, 58% of these businesses experienced a sales decrease by more than half in December 2021 and that was before this variant’s peak. The trend is consistent with Open Table data showing a sharp drop in dine-in traffic in December.
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