Restaurant Industry Rallies its Troops for More Government Relief
Talk about a door — make that doors — slamming shut hard. Thousands of them. When the coronavirus hit in March, restaurants and foodservice operations throughout the country were forced to shut their doors abruptly, not knowing when they would be able to open again.
After several weeks, that “not knowing when they be would be able to open again” turned “to not knowing if they would be able to open again.” While many restaurants did what they could during the national lockdown to make ends meet, from offering takeout and delivery to turning into makeshift grocery stores, a good number of them were still hanging on for dear life. Some industry prognosticators predict that one in five restaurants will close because of the economic havoc created by the downtime.
The good news is that the restaurant industry is rallying its troops. Last Friday, more than 70 partners in the restaurant and foodservice supply chain spoke out in a letter to U.S. government leaders in support of the need for more government relief for the industry, which supports more than 21 million jobs and generates over $2.5 trillion in economic activity annually along its national supply chain, according to the National Restaurant Association.
“From beloved corner restaurants to national chains, restaurants in every community are teetering on the edge of survival, which is why we continue to talk with Congress about a Restaurant and Foodservice Recovery Fund,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “We value the support of our suppliers and business partners who have signed on this letter and who have stuck with us during this uncertain time. With their help, and the help of Congress, the whole restaurant industry can recover and thrive again.”
In the letter to congressional leaders, the coalition of partners and trade groups highlighted how the pandemic shutdown and new social distancing regulations are impacting the interconnected supply chain. They emphasized that what hurts restaurants hurts companies and employees across the economy.
The letter noted that while Congress and President Trump have taken historic and bipartisan action to help the country, the restaurant industry has been hardest hit during this crisis and will need specific support to recover so it is able to help drive a national economic revitalization.
“Helping restaurants recover will help all of our industries and will provide a powerful and locally targeted tool to help reunite and rebuild communities across the country in the days ahead,” the letter said.
The 70 organizations signing the letter represent big and small supply chain providers critical to the industry, including: the American Frozen Food Institute, the Consumer Brands Association, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the National Beer Wholesalers Association, the National Fisheries Institute, PepsiCo, Sysco, Coca-Cola, US Foods and more.
Read the full letter here.