SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Across the San Francisco Bay, hundreds of restaurants and cafes have closed, thousands of employees have been laid off or furlough, the trend has been repeated around the county, according to a new national survey.
The National Restaurant Association said its survey has reveals that two-thirds of its workforce, more than eight million employees, have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 closures.
Many Bay Area restaurants have been trying to survive on take-out or delivery services and also helping feed health workers and other essential employees.
“I don’t think any restaurants are breaking even right now, I don’t think any of them are even coming close to breaking even,” said Che Fico co-owner David Nayfeld of the San Francisco scene earlier this month. “If anything what they’re doing is they’re slowing the bleeding slightly.”
In order to support the struggling restaurants, San Francisco Mayor London Breed has issued an emergency order temporarily placing a cap on delivery fees from third-party delivery companies.
Even before the pandemic, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association fought to reduce those commission fees which, typically, range from 20 to 30% per order. Now, this fee can wipe out a restaurant’s entire profit margin.
“We’re seeing about a 10% increase in orders week over week in people that are open. So the volume is going up. The problem is the restaurants are losing money on those sales,” said GGRA executive director Laurie Thomas.
The National Restaurant Association’s survey of 6,500 restaurants nationwide, noted that restaurants lost $30 billion in March, were on track to lose $50 billion in April, as well as a COVID-19-related loss of more than $240 billion nationwide by the end of the year.
“The restaurant industry has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus mandates—suffering more sales and job losses than any other industry in the country,” Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Sean Kennedy wrote to bipartisan congressional leaders.
“Each of you has a favorite restaurant in your home state—one that exemplifies your culture, your cuisine, and your community. The restaurant industry epitomizes the American dream, but it is uniquely vulnerable to both the current circumstances and the future uncertainty of dining in an era of social distancing,” Kennedy concluded.