THE POINT: If the independent restaurant you love is open—for take-out, for patio dining, for socially distanced indoor dining—support it. Go eat there. It’s fine that we all have a renewed interest in cooking at home, but great restaurants are an essential part of life in a great city. Go. Eat. Tip.

This report came today from National Restaurant Association:

restaurant secret

“Six months following the first shutdown of restaurants for the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant industry is in limbo. According to a new survey released today by the National Restaurant Association, nearly 1 in 6 restaurants (representing nearly 100,000 restaurants) is closed either permanently or long-term; nearly 3 million employees are still out of work; and the industry is on track to lose $240 billion in sales by the end of the year.

The survey, which asked restaurant operators about the six-month impact of the pandemic on their businesses, found that overwhelmingly, most restaurants are still struggling to survive and don’t expect their position to improve over the next six months. The findings include:

  • Consumer spending in restaurants remained well below normal levels in August. Overall, sales were down 34% on average.
  • Association analysis shows that the foodservice industry has lost $165 billion in revenue March–July and is on track to lose $240 billion this year.
  • Our research estimates that for 2020, at least 100,000 restaurants will close, but the initial scope of closures won’t be known until government statistics are released in the months ahead.
  • 60% of operators say their restaurant’s total operational costs (as a percent of sales) are higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • On average, restaurant operators say their current staffing levels are only 71% of what they would typically be in the absence of COVID-19.”

This is dire news for all of us—most acutely for restaurant employees, but also for diners. Remember, you’re actually helping people when you go out to eat.