Majority of restaurants won’t last longer than six months: survey

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As of July 10, Yelp found 26,160 restaurant closures — an increase of 23 per cent from June 15, CNN reported on the weekend. Of these, 15,770 establishments have permanently closed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, restaurants have lost more revenue and jobs than any other industry. Restaurants already operate with thin margins, Justin Norman, vice-president of data science at Yelp, told ABC News. And they have had to contend with abrupt closures and inconsistent reopenings as COVID-19 cases have risen across the U.S.

The situation is more stable on this side of the border, but it has its challenges. Most Quebec restaurants were permitted to reopen their dining rooms as of June 15; Montreal and Joliette reopened June 22. Ninety-one per cent of survey respondents said their restaurants have opened — but the majority said social distancing requirements mean seating capacity in their establishments is now just 40 to 60 per cent of what it was before the pandemic.

Reduced seating capacity, of course, means less business: 88 per cent of respondents said they were doing just 60 per cent of the business they did during the year-earlier period — or less.

Just over eight per cent of respondents said their establishments are temporarily closed — and the main reason is seating capacity too low to allow profitability.

Whether an establishment is small, medium-sized or large, being closed for three months was bad for business and the concern is that a recovery could be slow, the ARQ said in a statement accompanying the July 9 release of the survey. The online survey was conducted June 30 to July 5; about 10 per cent of ARQ members responded.

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