restaurant coronavirus
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Restaurants and Coronavirus: Industry Has Lost $120 Billion, Study Says

New research shows how COVID-19 has affected the restaurant industry
restaurant coronavirus
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The restaurant industry is projected to lose $240 billion in sales because of coronavirus. It’s now reported that, so far, state-mandated dining room closures have resulted in a loss of $120 billion — $30 billion in March, $50 billion in April and $40 billion in May.

Restaurants Post-Coronavirus Promote Social Distancing in Creative Ways

According to new research from the National Restaurant Association, more than 8 million restaurant employees were unemployed at the height of the pandemic, 76% of restaurants that remained open in some capacity — to offer takeout, for example — have rehired some staff, and 25% of restaurants that are temporarily closed have rehired some staff and plan to reopen.

Of those restaurants, 84% said they’ve received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, but 78% said the funding would not be enough to keep all of their employees on payroll until sales are enough to cover labor costs in the weeks or months ahead.

That said, 75% said it’s unlikely their restaurants would be profitable within the next six months under the assumption that there will be no additional relief packages from the federal government.

Many restaurant operators said that the ability to serve alcohol for people to drink off-site has been helpful. Of those surveyed, 89% said they are offering the option with takeout and delivery orders, and that adult beverages represent 10% of those sales. They also said they would continue offering alcohol for to-go orders if their jurisdictions allowed them to do so.

Of the restaurants that are currently open for takeout only, 28% are in a jurisdiction that now allows on-premise dining. However, 66% are not allowing customers inside yet because they think it’s too soon, 40% don’t have safety and social distancing measures in place, 34% don’t have enough customers to justify reopening, 27% don’t have enough employees and 5% are delaying because of the 8-week PPP loan period.


80% of operators said they do plan on reopening their dining rooms for sit-down service within the next 30 days, though. On that front, things are going to look a little different when you step out for a meal. Here's how coronavirus changed restaurants and which changes might stick around.