Industry advocate group the National Restaurant Association is calling on political leaders to funnel some $240 billion in aid directly to restaurateurs.
The association said Tuesday restaurants nationally have seen their workforce reduced by two-thirds, which equates to more than 8 million positions, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on operations. A survey of 6,500 U.S. restaurants indicated 60% of owners do not think they can maintain their payrolls through what federal aid currently exists for businesses.
Locally, fast food operators such as Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp., Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) of Newport Beach, Lake Forest-based Del Taco Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: TACO) and others have turned to mobile and drive-thru ordering to continue operations. More boutique operators have banded together, as is the case with the Artisan Pop-Up held at the OC Baking Co.
Still others have reduced costs with temporary measures, as was the case with Huntington Beach-based BJ’s Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: BJRI). The company temporarily laid off 16,000 restaurant workers earlier this month and last week announced additional cuts and payroll reductions for top executives.
Restaurants nationally lost $30 billion in March and are pacing to lose $50 billion this month, according to the National Restaurant Association. The group projects the industry will have lost more than $240 billion, based on modeling that assumes businesses begin to re-open in June.
The association’s pushing for a $240 billion emergency aid package it’s calling Blueprint for Recovery.
The grant money would be used for operating expenses, debt obligations, rehiring and costs associated with new operating standards promoting social distancing and increased health measures.
Go here for more updates on OC companies’ responses to the coronavirus.
For ongoing, in-depth coverage of the coronavirus’ effects on OC businesses, see the Monday print edition of the Business Journal.