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  • Over half the restaurant operators interviewed through the National Restaurant Association say that the business environment is worse than they were three months ago.
  • The delta variation as well as understaffed restaurants and high prices for food are among the challenges facing the industry.
  • Only 9 percent of respondents reported that business conditions had were improving over the past three months.

Nearly half the restaurant operators polled with the National Restaurant Association say that the business environment is worse than they were three months ago.

The trade association surveyed the operators of 4,000 between September. 7 and. 15 and will use the results to advocate against President Biden’s plan to increase the tax rates for corporations as well as proposed modifications in the National Labor Relations Act that could allow fines of up to $100,000 for labor infractions. The trade group is also urging lawmakers to increase funds in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was established in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak to keep the industry in check.

“Restaurants still need help today and overwhelming them with costly new obligations will only prevent progress in turning the tide of recovery,” NRA Vice President of Public Affairs Sean Kennedy wrote in a letter to the congressional leadership.

The delta variation, understaffed restaurants, and higher costs for food are just a few of the problems plaguing the sector. Only 9 percent of those who took part in the survey reported that business conditions had improved in the past three months.

The influx of Covid-19 cases during the past three months has caused doubts about the demand of customers and possible new government restrictions. The majority of respondents claimed that their restaurants weren’t fully operational for dining indoors. Morning Consult’s weekly tracker of dining has revealed that 64 percent of U.S. adults feel comfortable dining in the restaurant. The survey has remained constant for the last four weeks, however it has dropped by 7 percent from the high which was set on the Fourth July.

Three-quarters of restaurant owners that took part of the NRA survey stated that their restaurants have a shortage of staff. Of those who responded 83% stated that they’re at or below 10% understaffed. 39% of them are lacking at least a fifth their staff. In response to this issue restaurant owners are cutting their hours, cutting menu items, and decreasing seating capacity, which could have a negative impact on their profits.

The menu options are also affected by the challenges in food supply. Only 5% of the respondents didn’t experience any delays or shortages of important foods and drinks in the past three months. Food costs in percentage of sales also have increased in 91% of businesses when compared to pre-pandemic levels making their margins less.

Jack In the Box is one of the restaurant companies that have revealed plans to increase prices in the event that the costs of food and labor rise. In addition, Outback Steakhouse parent Bloomin Brands has cut its promotions.

The majority of operators have a negative view of the coming three months. Five5% of operators stated they think their sales will be less than they expected over the next three months.

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