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Early Numbers Reveal Drastic Impact on Ohio’s Restaurants

Susan Post Susan Post Early Numbers Reveal Drastic Impact on Ohio’s Restaurants
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Even before Governor Mike DeWine signed an order closing Ohio’s bars and restaurants to dine-in patrons, establishments across the state were feeling the impacts of the coronavirus.

The Ohio Restaurant Association conducted a survey asking restaurants about their business the week of March 8-14, the days leading up to the March 15 order.

“As the voice of Ohio’s restaurant community, we want to help elected officials and community leaders fully understand the negative impact this health crisis is having on Ohio’s restaurant industry,” said John Barker, president and CEO of the ORA. “These survey results are staggering, and we are doing everything we can to advocate for relief and to ease the hardships Ohio restaurants are facing during this terribly difficult time.”

Key findings included:

  • 47% have closed restaurant locations
  • 229 respondents (of 308 total) are offering carry-out, drive-thru or delivery service during this time
  • 44% of respondents saw their year-over-year sales for the week (March 8-14) decrease by 20-50%
  • 30% of respondents are seeing weekly and monthly year-over-year sales decline by 20-50%

Respondents reported significant employee layoffs, lack of materials to keep employees healthy and safe, and access to sufficient government aid as ongoing concerns. Many also questioned the continued sustainability of a carry-out model.

The last few weeks have seen many local restaurants try to adapt to a carry-out model, but ultimately make the decision to close locations until the pandemic is over, including Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and Rusty Bucket. Others have pivoted into new territory, creating meal kits and family-style options, offering pantry staples, or starting delivery.

Many neighborhood groups and organizations are helping residents track businesses they can continue to support in their neighborhoods during the pandemic. Lists by neighborhood include:

The ORA is planning future surveys, which they expect will reveal considerably more severe impacts from the coronavirus. The effects have also been felt on a national level, with the National Restaurant Association reporting the restaurant industry has lost three million jobs and $25 billion in sales since March 1. Nationally, the restaurant industry employs about about 10% of the workforce – 15.6 million people.

For more information, visit ohiorestaurant.org.

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