Ballot: Greater than 40% of Indiana restaurant operators worry viability

More than four in ten restaurant operators say they are unlikely to be in business in six months if current business conditions persist. That’s according to a poll released Tuesday by the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association.

The country-specific poll results come from a larger National Restaurant Association poll conducted August 26th through September 26th. 1, show that the seven-month-old health emergency is still weighing heavily on the restaurant industry, even though restrictions have been eased.

In most parts of Indiana, restaurants have had 75% of their dining rooms and 50% of the bar as of early July. Marion County has mandated more restrictive policies for much of that time. The county limits indoor dining in restaurants to 50% capacity and 25% table seating in bars and nightclubs.

Survey results show that most Indiana restaurant operators are seeing lower sales volume, which is preventing them from getting staff back up to pre-pandemic levels.

“Our industry is doing all it can to stay afloat, care for its employees, and continue to serve their communities, but bluntly they can only go so much and so much longer,” said Patrick Tamm, president and CEO of Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association said in written comments. “They desperately need additional relief from the government and continued patronage over their facilities from both a and a performance perspective.”

Tamm said restaurant owners who have been able to do business by offering more outdoor dining are especially concerned now as the weather is getting colder.

“It’s going to be next to impossible to work like this in colder weather with little outdoor seating,” said Tamm. “We have not yet begun the healing process and without relief many will or will be or will be unemployed in the hospitality industry now and in the past.”

More poll results for Indiana:

– 46% of operators say it is unlikely that their restaurant will be operational in six months if there are no additional aid packages from the federal government.

– 88% say total US dollar sales were lower in August than August 2019. Overall, sales decreased 37% on average.

– 51% say the total cost of ownership (as a percentage of sales) is higher than before the pandemic. Only 22% say their cost is lower.

– 64% say off-premise sales are currently a higher proportion of overall business than they were before the outbreak.

– 34% say business conditions were worse in August than July, while only 15% say business conditions improved in August.

– 66% don’t expect sales to return to pre- levels within six months.

– 43% do not expect their workforce to return to pre-pandemic levels within six months.

– On average, Indiana restaurant operators report that their current workforce is only 70% of what they would normally have without -19.

– 41% stated that they hired employees in July and August, while 20% stated that they had laid off employees or took leave of absence in July and August.

– 26% plan to hire new employees in the next 30 days, while 21% expect to fire or lay off more employees in the next 30 days.

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