There’s no doubt about it: We are living through an unprecedented time.
The restaurant industry is no stranger to economic hardships. We’ve lived through the aftermath and fear of 9/11, and the economic downturn of the dot-com bust and the Great Recession.
But the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the industry is real and immediate. We are only beginning to understand its true impact.
In the days before our March 23 issue was printed, the world changed rapidly. Dine-in operations at thousands of chain and independent restaurants came to a near halt from coast to coast. Many have moved to carryout- and delivery-only operations as communities enter a new normal of social distancing to slow the spread of the deadly and highly contagious coronavirus.
The situation is dire and changing by the hour. On March 18, the National Restaurant Association asked the Trump administration and congressional leaders for a $145 billion bailout. The “Restaurant and Foodservice Industry Recovery Fund” would provide targeted relief to the industry, whose sales are projected to decline by $225 billion during the next three months.
Up to 7 million jobs are expected to be lost. But even in this dark time, there are rays of
hope. Industry leaders are already seeking solutions to the challenges restaurants face.
The CEOs of the country’s largest restaurant chains met with President Trump this month to discuss the way forward. Darden Restaurants, McDonald’s and Starbucks were among the companies taking steps to protect workers and consumers with expanded paid sick leave policies. And others used their existing infrastructure to give back, as celebrity chef José Andrés did when he turned his network of ThinkFoodGroup restaurants into community kitchens.
That’s the soul of the industry. No matter the crisis, the hospitality sector can’t help but serve America.
We were not able to reflect the full scope of the changes in the pages of our March 23 issue because of the long lead time required for magazine production. But our team has been working tirelessly to report on all of these developments and bring you the information needed to make informed business decisions.
NRN is here for you.
Our staff has more than 100 years of collective experience covering this industry. We will continue to serve you with accurate, transparent and impartial coverage that will help you navigate these historic changes. We want to hear from you, too. Reach out to our team to let us know what you’re experiencing and how you’re moving forward.
We’re all in this together.
Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven